20150119

Reading in 2014


1. Signature of All Things - Elizabeth Gilbert - I started the year off by finishing what I had started the year before. the novel follows the fortunes of the extraordinary Whittaker family as led by the enterprising Henry Whittaker, a poor-born Englishman who makes a great fortune in the South American quinine trade, eventually becoming the richest man in Philadelphia. Born in 1800, Henry's brilliant daughter, Alma (who inherits both her father's money and his mind), ultimately becomes a botanist of considerable gifts herself. As Alma's research takes her deeper into the mysteries of evolution, she falls in love with a man named Ambrose Pike who makes incomparable paintings of orchids and who draws her in the exact opposite direction, into the realm of the spiritual, the divine, and the magical. It started with promise.. the middle was interesting and not all that I had expected but it was the end that was a let down.. which seemed to drag on a little longer than needed. But all in all a good read.

2. Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn - Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. I tackled another Gillian Flynn book this year and whoa was it messed up. This is some really dark stuff.. makes Gone Girl seem tame and harmless. And while it was a good read I don't plan on reading any more of her books.. Hurts to think the world is really this f$%ed up which i know it is but i really rather not think about it.

3. Rough Country - John Sanford - Virgil Flowers of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension gets a call while muskie fishing from his boss who orders Virgil to look into the shooting death of Erica McDill, an ad agency exec from Minneapolis and a big supporter of the Democratic Party, who was staying at the Eagle Nest Lodge in nearby Grand Rapids. A talk with lodge owner Margery Stanhope turns up unusual details: Margery's clientele is mostly lesbian; an all-female rock band is involved; guests who are so inclined can buy young men for an evening's pleasure; and financial reasons could explain the murder. It's a complicated case, but Virgil is up to the task, and, as always, he's funny, smart and tough when he needs to be—and catnip to the ladies. It was an okay read.. nothing wrong with it really, just not my kind of book.

4. Delancey - Molly Wizenberg - In this funny, frank, tender memoir and New York Times bestseller, the author of A Homemade Life and the blog Orangette recounts how opening a restaurant sparked the first crisis of her young marriage. This was a very quick read and I enjoyed it immensely. It was such a simple story, dealing with issues so many marriages face. Supporting your spouse even when their dream is not yours while trying to have an honest and healthy relationship.

5. Game of Thrones - George R R Martin - I am a huge fan of the show and was craving some GOT during their unbelievably long breaks so I picked up the first book. Surprisingly I enjoyed it.. I skipped the Jon Snow chapters and skipped paragraphs here and there but for the most part I liked it.. especially after already watching the show. I learnt things I may have missed or details they hadn't gotten into in the show. Had it been the other way around, reading before watching I may not have liked it so much. Plan on reading the second book this year.

6. East of Eden - John Steinbeck - Set in the rich farmland of California’s Salinas Valley, this sprawling and often brutal novel follows the intertwined destinies of two families—the Trasks and the Hamiltons—whose generations helplessly reenact the fall of Adam and Eve and the poisonous rivalry of Cain and Abel. I have attempted to read many of the so called classics.. some I have finished and others have been left midway.. rarely have I seen the wow in them. I see why East of Eden is considered a classic.. I loved it.. especially since it was not the story of Cain and Abel I had expected. I would consider it a must read for anyone who considers themselves a lover of literature.

7. Me Before You - Jojo Moyes - Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick. What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane. Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that. What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time. This was a great read.. highly recommend it. You laugh a little and cry a lot. It was also an eye opening look into the life of the disabled.

8. A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness - At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting-- he's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. The monster in his backyard is different. It's ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth. This is a young adult novel. I didn't realize it until after I had already begun to read it.. and I can now say with certainty.. I do not enjoy young adult books.

9. The Brutal Telling - Louise Penny - With those words the peace of Three Pines is shattered. As families prepare to head back to the city and children say goodbye to summer, a stranger is found murdered in the village bistro and antiques store. Once again, Chief Inspector Gamache and his team are called in to strip back layers of lies, exposing both treasures and rancid secrets buried in the wilderness. Another whodunit. I liked it more than Rough Country.. mainly because the characters were much more interesting..

10. Ten Tiny Breaths - K.A Tucker - Four years ago Kacey Cleary’s life imploded when her car was hit by a drunk driver, killing her parents, boyfriend, and best friend. Still haunted by memories of being trapped inside, holding her boyfriend’s lifeless hand and listening to her mother take her last breath, Kacey wants to leave her past behind. Armed with two bus tickets, twenty-year-old Kacey and her fifteen-year-old sister, Livie, escape Grand Rapids, Michigan, to start over in Miami. But Kacey’s not worried. She can handle anything—anything but her mysterious neighbor. Trent Emerson has smoldering blue eyes, deep dimples, and he perfectly skates that irresistible line between nice guy and bad boy. Hardened by her tragic past, Kacey is determined to keep everyone at a distance, but their mutual attraction is undeniable and Trent is determined to find a way into Kacey’s guarded heart - even if it means that an explosive secret could shatter both their worlds. This book seemed to have promise but the twist in the story was too predictable and most of it just seemed forced.

11. Rebecca - Daphne du Mauier - Working as a lady's companion, the heroine of Rebecca learns her place. Her future looks bleak until, on a trip to the South of France, she meets Max de Winter, a handsome widower whose sudden proposal of marriage takes her by surprise. She accepts, but whisked from glamorous Monte Carlo to the ominous and brooding Manderley, the new Mrs de Winter finds Max a changed man. And the memory of his dead wife Rebecca is forever kept alive by the forbidding housekeeper, Mrs Danvers... After seeing the rave reviews and the fact that a movie was based on the book it was unbearably boring and tedious. A nice little twist at the end.. but I had to skip a lot of paragraphs to get to it.

12. The Bird's Song - Timothy M Burke - Former prosecutor Timothy Burke recounts the separate tragedies that entwine three very different women in his true-crime drama The Bird’s Song. Taking place amid the racially tense backdrop of 1980s Boston, these tragic cases weave together to form a tale of lost justice, faith, love, and redemption. Three women come together after each experiencing unspeakable horror: the rape victim whose rapist has eluded capture, the widow whose husband was brutally murdered by a drug dealer who is later acquitted, and the mother whose young son dies inexplicably at a Boston hospital. All three are forced to adjust to a radically new life, each one relying on Burke as their lawyer and case advocate in order to bring them some measure of justice. I had never read something like this.. a true crime novel and was not sure how interesting it would be reading legal non fiction.. but it was very interesting.. getting a glimpse behind how case are won and lost and how bad guys so free.

13. Bloodline - James Rollins - A yacht bearing a young American couple is attacked by Somali pirates, leading to bloodshed and the violent kidnapping of the pregnant woman on board. To aid in her rescue from the lawless and war-torn jungles of coastal Africa, Sigma Force enlists the aid of a unique search team: former army ranger Captain Tucker Wayne and his military war dog, Kane. But what appears to be a straightforward mission turns into a fiery ambush and betrayal--for this most valuable hostage is in fact the president's daughter. This book was not at all what I expected. It was one crazy ass roller coaster! And just when you thought things couldn't get any more crazy they did. While this is really not my kind of book.. with the elite force and all but it was a really fun quick mindless read, which is sometimes exactly what you need. 

I did better than last year. 13 books read and nothing left unfinished. See what I read in 2013 2012 2011 

Waiting on my nightstand is All the Light We Can Not See by Anthony Doerr.. what are you reading? what was your favorite read of 2014? I'm always looking to add more book to m ever growing list.


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26 comments:

  1. This is some collection you polished off last year.

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  2. I wish I'd have read as much as you! A goal of mine is to get to reading this year. Good reminder. I think I'll force in some reading today...

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  3. Wow, you read a ton last year! I want to read Delancey eventually. I really enjoy Molly's blog. I have always loved Steinbeck. I didn't like any of Gillian Flynn's books other than Gone Girl, which was the first one of hers I read. I wish I'd liked the others more. I can't wait to see what you read this year.

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  4. I haven't read any on your list, so glad to have some new ideas on what to read. My book club keeps me busy most of the year, but from time to time I'm able to pick and finish one on my own. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. I'm almost done the 5th book of GoT! I hope Winds of Winter come out soon:)

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  6. You did good this year! I have been wanting to reread Rebecca. I might do that soon!

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  7. Oh I love Rebecca - both the book and the Emilia Fox/Charles Dance/Diana Rigg film version, and the twist at the end is very clever

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  8. The only ones I have read are Game of Thrones and Brutal Telling. I gave up on the Martin series halfway through the fourth book when I figured it was going nowhere slowly. I love Louise Penny and am up to date with her Gamache series. I don't know if that one was my fave, but anything in the series will do. And she's just finishing another draft. Yipee!

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  9. I truly do not know how you readers read so much. I mean, I would LIKE to read more, but I feel I need to pencil it in, schedule reading time. I used to read more when I had a boring office job; that's what lunch breaks were for, and the bus commute there and back. Good job, Hena! I'm currently finishing off the 'Serial' podcast, and watching all the documentaries and mini series suggested by Time Magazine for Serial listeners!

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  10. I enjoyed reading Delancey as well!

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  11. Wow that's a LOT of books! At the moment I'm reading "Loving Our Kids on Purpose" by Danny Silk.

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  12. Rebecca was required reading when we were in secondary school but I could read the book a thousand times over. I watched 2 different film versions of the book. Did you know there is a sequel to the book - Mrs. De Winters by Susan Hill. I didn't really enjoy it

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  13. Signature Of All Things is on top of my reading list!

    WritingMonique

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  14. so many of these i've been curious about, so i loved hearing your thoughts on each. what an accomplishment!

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  15. That is a really long list Hena. I love reading book too just like you.

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  16. That is a great reading list.

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  17. the only book i've read out of these is rebecca, and i did like it, haha! and that steinbeck book is on my to-read list:-) x

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  18. I didn't read any books last year, oops! I have been listening to things on Audible though on the way to work!

    Corinne x
    www.skinnedcartree.com

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  19. It looks like you read some great books in 2014. The only book on your list that I have read is Me Before You.

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  20. You did well in 2014! thanks for the synopsis of these since I was interested in some of these books. I was tempted to read Sharp Objects just because I had read Gone Girl. I thought Gone Girl was twisted, and if this makes Gone Girl seem tame, I'll probably pass on it. I like to go to bed dreaming happy thoughts :)

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  21. These look like great books! I'm for sure adding a few of these to my list!
    Melanie @ meandmr.com

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  22. i have me before you on my list. and i've been thinking about reading sharp objects (since i liked gone girl) and the game of thrones books since i love the show. hope to read more in 2015!

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  23. whoa, you read so much! i am embarrassed to say that the only books i read in 2014 were of the preschool variety. must do better this year!

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  24. You made me want to read 'me before you'. Seems very interesting!
    Thanks for sharing.
    x
    Stella from a A Shiny Place

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  25. I read East of Eden a LONG time ago and remember loving it. I'm reading What Alice Forgot right now and it's pretty good!

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