Reading in 2015

1. Shadow of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón - Barcelona, 1945: Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son discovered a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julián Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets, an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love. It started out bit slow and I wondered where it was going.. but once it picked up momentum this book was amazing.. it was crazy dramatic, lost loves, incest, teenage pregnancies and more crazy stuff but so much fun. This book was quite a surprise and highly recommended!

2. A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin - This is the second installment of the Game of Thrones series. At a certain time each year I start to yearn for my GOT fix. 10 episodes a year is just not enough! I like reading the books after the episodes especially since the show is no longer following the books.. I like digging a bit deeper, things I missed while watching or things the show skipped. I skip parts and reread others.. and bug M with tidbits and fun facts. :)

3. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith - The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg. I wasn't sure if I was going to like this one, seemed so depressing but the reviews were so amazing that I thought I'd give it a chance.. and I am so glad I did. It was depressing yes, but also so hopeful, made you feel so grateful for all that you were blessed with, made you laugh and cry and realize the importance of hard work and determination.. It goes onto my must read list..

4. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer, Annie Barrows - January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she’s never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb…. As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends. I am a bit on the fence about this one.. it has a good concept and started out interestingly.. the entire book is told in letters.. but then 3/4 in it got to a point where I just wanted it to end.. what was initially cute and unique just started to become annoying and repetitive... argh!

5. The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton - A foundling, an old book of dark fairy tales, a secret garden, an aristocratic family, a love denied, and a mystery. Inheriting a book of dark and intriguing fairy tales written by Eliza Makepeace - the Victorian authoress who disappeared mysteriously in the early twentieth century - Cassandra takes her courage in both hands to follow in the footsteps of Nell on a quest to find out the truth about their history, their family and their past. This tale was told in three different times.. there was the story of Eliza, Nell and Cassandra and I found myself most intrigued and interested in the story of Eliza. I found myself skimming through some of Cassandra's chapters so that I could read more about Eliza.. While I won't call this one a must read I'd still recommend it.. Eliza was such an amazing character and her story so interesting and heartbreaking that it makes the book worth it.. 

6. The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick - Pat Peoples has a theory that his life is actually a movie produced by God, and that his God-given mission in life is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure a happy ending – which, for Pat, means the return of his estranged wife Nikki. (It might not come as any surprise to learn that Pat has spent several years in a mental health facility.) I watched the movie and enjoyed it, very much. I read the book and enjoyed it.. I may have enjoyed the book very much if I hadn't seen the movie first.. The problem is the same with all book based movies.. when you read the book you come with a set of exceptions which the movie rarely lives up to.. the characters don't look how you imagined them.. there are changes made to the story and so on.. well I had the same problem with the the book.. I had come with a story in mind and the book is so so very greatly different from the movie.. and while reading I kept thinking.. well this isn't what happened in the movie! argh!

7. Iron House by John Hart - Michael and his brother, Julian, were raised in a home for boys. Iron House provided shelter and discipline. Julian was constantly abused and bullied by the other boys. Michael wanted to protect his brother and was forced to fight for both of them. As a result, he became a ferocious combatant. When Julian finally struck back at his main tormentor, Michael took the blame. Julian was adopted and Michael left the home and lived on the streets, constantly having to defend himself. If you like a good thriller this is your book.. with all the blood and gore comes a great story, a mystery, family and love. I was staying up way past my bedtime to read this one and it was one helluva ride! 

8. Touch and Go by Lisa Gardner - Ten minutes after walking the elite Back Bay townhouse and investigator Tessa Leoni already doesn’t like what she sees. Signs of an abduction. Clearly the work of professionals. The more Tessa learns about the Denbe family, the less she likes their chances. What might have looked like the perfect existence—a powerful CEO, his adoring wife, their angelic child—is not what it appears. Husband, wife, daughter—magazine perfect, but each hiding dark secrets… Another thriller.. pretty good.. but nowhere near as good as Iron House. Most of the story had me intrigued and interested it was the end that pissed me off a bit.. 

9. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr - A story about a blind French girl Marie and a German boy Werner whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. This was a very long, very slow, very beautifully written book. It had a lovely story and some parts were very interesting, some pages held me captive but over all it was a slow long book.. a hundred or so pages too long. I have decided after this particular book that I am no longer interested in WWII books.. I think I may have read enough on the subject matter. 

10. Mean Streak by Sandra Brown - Dr. Emory Charbonneau, a pediatrician and marathon runner, disappears on a mountain road in North Carolina. By the time her husband Jeff, miffed over a recent argument, reports her missing, the trail has grown cold. Literally. Fog and ice encapsulate the mountainous wilderness and paralyze the search for her. While police suspect Jeff of "instant divorce," Emory, suffering from an unexplained head injury, regains consciousness and finds herself the captive of a man whose violent past is so dark that he won't even tell her his name. She's determined to escape him, and willing to take any risks necessary to survive. Boy was this a boring story, minus a few thrills here and there this was a fairly predictable tale with almost  no thrill level. 

11. Wolf by Mo Hayder - When a vagrant—the Walking Man—finds a dog wandering alone with the words "HELP US” written on its collar, he’s sure it’s a desperate plea from someone in trouble and calls on Detective Inspector Jack Caffery to investigate. Caffery has no idea who or what he is searching for, but one thing he is sure of: it's a race against time. Meanwhile, the Anchor-Ferrers, a wealthy local family, are fighting for their lives in their remote home ten miles away. Two men have tricked their way into the house and are holding the family for ransom. Yet as the captors’ demands become increasingly bizarre and humiliating, it becomes clear that this is more than a random crime it’s a personal vendetta. Another great thriller.. this really has been the year of thrillers for me.. Wolf was intriguing, disturbing and unpredictable.. and the twist at the end was a devastating realization..

12. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See - In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, “old same,” in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan on which she’s painted a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men. Together, they endure the agony of foot-binding, and reflect upon their arranged marriages, shared loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their deep friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart. After reading this one I am just very very glad that I was born in this century.. and it is also amazing to see just how far we have come.. the oppression, the injustices women have faced and endured throughout the centuries.. and here we are now, stronger than ever before.. makes me proud to be a woman. 

See what I have read in the past 2014 2013 2012 2011
What have you been reading? Anything I should add to my ever growing list?

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K / House of KTS said...

I love good book recommendations, and you've definitely given me a lot of books to check out when I go to the book store this weekend. Wonderful post.

Kia / KTS

Emmylou said...

Ooooh...Wolf sounds like a good one. And you can't go wrong with GRRM:D I may have to re-read the books to freshen my memory before the season starts...bahahahaha

Pumpkin Delight (Kimberly) said...

I've read 1, 4, and 6 - all great books. Shadow of the Wind is one of my favorites of all time. There is a Shadow of the Wind tour you can take in Barcelona which sounds like fun! I also loved the The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, having listened to it while walking the dog. They used different voices for each of the letters.
I've heard really good things about All the Light We Can Not See - your take is interesting. I agree about WW2 stories. It's such an interesting time period to learn about, but they can be exhausting and so sad. And agree, Wolf sounds really good too. I love detective stories.

marilovesgr33n said...

I haven't read none of these books, but this is perfect because one of my goals for 2016 is reading a lot of books. I took notes of them.

Elle Sees said...

i haven't read any of these, so i am glad to hear of the reviews!

Hena Tayeb said...

thanks.. hope you find a few you love.

Hena Tayeb said...

I do the same.. though not reread.. one read itself is an exhausting process..

Hena Tayeb said...

I love when a book surprises you.. you go in thinking it'll be a good book and then it just blows your mind!
I can imagine The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society being more interesting as an audio book..
If you ever do read All the Light We Can Not See i'd love to hear your thought on it.

Alexandra S said...

I haven't read any of these either but I love reading the reviews and having an idea of which to pick up! I know I really should read more of the GoT books - I just read the first and then watched the show.

Christina said...

Oh man, I'm binge watching GOT. It's cool that you read the books!


CIELO said...

Oh I would love to read "The forgotten garden"... wonder if I could download it onto my Ipad..


footnotes and finds said...

Great list! I have Margaret Atwood's A Handmaid's Tale on my list!


Sybil said...

great recommendations! thanks for sharing! :D

Have a great week!
Animated Confessions

Claire said...

Lovely books!

God bless,

XO, Claire


karen said...

nice list of books! I've read a few this year that are the same as yours. I try to read what's current and mix in a little bit of classics to stir things up.

Stefanie said...

Well by golly, you had some good reading all this time. I liked the Chinese book too. I normally buck against reading such settings but I was impressed by See's writing. All the Light one I have on my TBR as it sounds good and a lot book bloggers raved about it. I understand your being tired of a WWII setting. Morton's book was the first one and only one of hers I have read so far. I thought it was pretty good. Ppl are gushing over her The Lake House. I'll need to give her another go sometime. Shadow of the Wind sounds so twisted but I'm intrigued since it's about mysterious books. Thanks for the inspiration.

Gabrielle said...

That's quite a few books! I'm ashamed to say I barely made any time for reading over 2015, though hopefully 2016 will be different :)

Gabrielle | A Glass Of Ice

BEAUTYEDITER.COM – Beauty Blog said...

This is beautiful! Happy Friday.


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