The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant
Historical fiction. Check. Coming of age story. Check. Great cover art. Check. What’s not to love here? The story opens with an elderly Addie answering her granddaughters question, “How did you become the woman you are today?”. She begins the story in 1915, when she was the teenage daughter of immigrants living Boston and follows her through romance, heartache and milestones–all the things you want in a proper coming of age story. The story covers some major points in American history that I’ve haven’t come across much in historical fiction and I just loved Addie’s smart, modern voice. I’m in the middle of another one of Diamant’s books right now.
One Step Too Far by Tina Seskis
Ok, so I powered through page after page digging for Emily’s secret…and when it was finally revealed I wasn’t all that shocked. The plot line was reminiscent of Gone Girl. The first pages open up with Emily fleeing her family to begin a new life in a new city with a new name and clues are given through out the book as to why she left as the story goes on. Turns out I had figured out her secret pretty early on. I was just expected something more scandalous or outrageous surrounding it. In hindsight I think I was just expecting too much, but it did entertained me and I will be on the lookout for Seskis’ second book.
The Girls from Corona Del Mar by Rufi Thorpe
I picked this up after seeing it on one of Heart of Light’s reading lists. It’s a story of two girls that grew up together and the paths their lives take. Books that explore the often complex relationship between women that grew up together always intrigue me. The story gives a frank perspective on life–friendships, motherhood and moving on. It’s not a particularly happy or light story, but it is a refreshing portrayal of the unfairness of life.
The Fair Fight by Anna Freeman
This was one of those awesome times when I picked up a random book at the library and it was actually good! Most of the time I pick books out based on recommendation from a friend/the internet/wherever, then put them on hold at my local library. When I stray from my usual book selection process, I tend to end up with books that have FANTASTIC covers, but are really terrible. This book was not that! It was excellent. And I polished it off in just a few sittings. Did you know that lady-boxers were a thing in 18th century France? Yeah I didn’t either. Its like Total Divas circa 1754. Find it. Read it. Thank me.
The Yellow Eyes of Crocodiles by Katherine Pancol
Speaking of France, apparently this book was a HUGE sensation there. I read the English translation as I only last two weeks in an elective college French class. I do believe there is sequel, but I’m not seeing any English translation of it yet. Fingers crossed. The book is based on two sisters and a risky scheme they get into together. The story branches off in alot of directions with the sisters’ parents, children and spouses. And man do I love a good, twisty story.
In the Unlikely Event by Judy Blume
I was shocked when I told people I was reading the new Judy Blume book and they looked at me like they’d never heard of Judy Blume. How have you not heard of Judy Blume?!? Um, hello–Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret? Forever? I mean she is a staple on every preteen girls’ bookshelf. And I’ve devoured her adult books years ago. So when I heard rumblings of her new book, I was sure to get on the top of the library’s hold list. And it did not disappoint. She’s just such a good story teller, and knows how to write women.
Happy 2015!! How did you all ring in the new year last night? I baked a batch of cookies then fell asleep on the couch at 8:30 watching House Hunters. Are you jealous? Good, you should be. Before diving in to
just another Thursday the new year, lets take a second to look back at 2014–specifically all the juicy reads I devoured.
One of my New Years’ Resolutions last year (and I think the only one I kept…) was to read more. I wanted to finish all the unread books I had on my shelf too. I still have a few left to get to, but I’m pretty satisfied with my 2014 reading list regardless.
First off–I somehow missed Everything That Remains in my Reading List posts. I finished it late this summer and it was just as good as I hoped! It’s a memoir written by Joshua Fields Millburn with commentary by his friend, Ryan Nicodemus. The book follows Millburn’s journey to adulthood and eventually to his current minimalist way of life. Its a smart, heart-felt and often funny story of an unexpected journey to happiness. It brings up excellent questions about why we do what we do–how we spend money, how we make money and how we choose to live our lives. I highly recommend! Also, you need to go read their blog, The Minimalists. Do it right now.
2014 was easily the year of Diana Gabaldon for me. I spend almost the entire second half of the year reading her Outlander series. I just started the latest book in the series and I’m not sure what I’m going to do when I finish it–with no more Outlander to read. 😦
Even with thousands of deliciously romantic and historically correct story telling pages from Diana, I think The Interestings was my favorite book of the year. I was pleasantly surprised by Me Before You and could have passed on The One and Only.
Read all my Reading List posts here.
I’m still powering through the Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I really don’t know what I’m going to do when I finish the last book. These beasts have been keeping me thoroughly entertained for almost 6 months now. I’ve most recently finished the fifth installment, The Fiery Cross and the sixth installment, A Breath of Snow and Ashes. One of the things I love about the series is that the books pick up literally right where the last left off. I’m talking like Claire was boiling stew on page 966 of the one book and enjoying said stew on page 1 of the following book. It’s exactly what I want in a series! I tend to get very impatient when I have to piece together several years of story line between books.
The last two books place the entire Fraser-McKenzie clan on a growing settlement in the colonial mountains during the onset of the Revolutionary war. If you’ve read any of my reading posts, you know that I love a story that follows characters throughout their lives. Well, Diana takes it one step farther by carrying us all along on this multi-generational story. We’re talking third generation here. And somehow Grandda Jamie is just as hot as 23-year Jamie was. Diana has yet to disappoint.
I took a little break in between Outlander installments for Orange is the New Black. I’ve had my name on the list for the memoir for weeks–and once I landed the paperback I sped through it in just a few days. I’ve been wanting to read to read the book since I first binge-watched the juicy Netflix series it inspired. Where the Netflix series provides an entertaining, scandalous and over the top story line that’s best watched in several-hour sittings–the book offers an honest, well-written and heart-felt look into one woman’s brief prison sentence. The true story exposes the weaknesses and ineffectiveness of the US corrections system and tells the surprisingly beautiful story of what the author learned from her stay and the women she spent a year of her life with. I highly recommend.
The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street by Susan Jane Gilman
I love historical fiction–especially immigration stories and I love books that follow their characters though out their entire lives. And that is exactly what this book is. But it was totally not what I expected and it was fantastic! The story follows a young Russian immigrant from her voyage to America at 6 years old all the way to her legal troubles at age 70+. It’s not your average all-your-dreams-come-true-in-America immigration story. It’s so much better than that. Go get it. Read it. Now.
The Vacationers by Emma Straub
This was one of the “hot books of summer” according to social media and blogs everywhere. And the cover is just adorable! The book itself was ok. I read the whole thing and it entertained me. But it wasn’t really anything spectacular. I did really like the way it was set up though. Each chapter is a day of the vacation–so rather than Chapter 1, 2 etc., the book is set up as Day 1, 2 and so on. I liked that. I also really liked the size of the book. It was nice to hold. So I give the packaging a 10 and the story a respectable 7.
I’ve been reading like a maniac lately. And some good stuff too! So let me tell you about it.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
I saw Me Before You on a summer reading list a while ago and I loved the cover, so I put it on hold at my local library. I barely skimmed the summary so I all I knew was that it was a romance of some sort. I wasn’t really expecting much from it, but man was it good. And man was it a tear. jerker. I’m pretty sure I sobbed though most of the last third of the book. The synopsis goes like this. Nice blue-collar girl loses her coffee shop job, takes job as a companion for a cranky 30-something quadriplegic. Ends up falling in love with said quadriplegic, no surprise there. But I’m telling you, you’ve got to read. It will make you think. And it will make you cry. And you will love it.
Outlander Series (Books 2-4) by Diana Gabaldon
My mom’s been a huge fan of these books for decades. I’ve read the first one a few times and it’s a pretty delicious read, but for some reason I never mustered up the energy to read any of the following books—and they’re a pretty serious commitment at 900+ pages. But after seeing my mom devour one on a weekend road trip earlier this summer, I decided I should probably dive back in. I started with the second installment, Dragonfly in Amber then followed with Voyager and Drums of Autumn. And finished each of them in about a week or so—serious page turners, I’m tellin’ ya! So here’s the deal: Claire accidentally goes back in time from the 1940’s to 18th century Scotland. Meets and falls in love with a super hunky Scot and adventure ensues over several decades and thousands of pages. It’s the perfect mix of historical fiction, romance, drama and just the tiniest bit of sci-fi. Oh and there’s a Starz series based on the first book coming out this month!
The One and Only by Emily Giffin
I love Emily Giffin, she’s very possibly my favorite author. I can always count on her for fun, easy-reading, good-quality chick lit. And I was sure that I would love her new book, after all I’ve zipped through all her others in just a few days. But it was just meh. It was about a sports writer in a football town in Texas—romances with a former college football player, a pro football player and a football coach (who is also her best friend’s dad…ew). It wasn’t bad and there were lots of good parts and as always the characters were wonderful. But there were also lots of parts about football, like pages describing plays and games. So if you love chick lit and you love football, you will love this book. But if your favorite thing about football is chilly fall weather and crock pot dips…then it might leave a bit to be desired.
I finally picked up a book and actually read the entire thing for the first time in months. My New Year’s Resolution was to read more and to get through all the unread books on my bookshelf. I’m one (almost two) books closer to completing my goal.
I’ve tried to get into The Shoemaker’s Wife a few times but it just didn’t grab me until I read the summary on the back and figured out who the main character actually was (completely different than I though from reading the first few pages) I was intrigued. The story stretches across 30+ plus years as two young Italians emigrate to America and grow into adults. It’s a bit predictable in a Nicholas Sparks sort of way–but that’s not always a bad thing. And Trigiani paints a beautifully vivid picture of life as a young Italian immigrant that is a delight to read.
I’ve been reading a few chapters here and there from Lean In for the past several months and I’m just about finished. I’m not going to get into my point of view on Sandberg’s statements, but I do think it’s an important and valuable point of view to read and consider. Love it or hate it, the woman has some pretty legitimate stuff to say.