27. My Fair Lazy - (6/27) - Jen Lancaster 384p
4/5 - review behind the link
28. Jack - (7/3) - A.M. Homes 240p
4/5This was Homes first novel. Had it been my first by her, I'm not sure I would have kept reading more, so I'm glad it wasn't.
By Homes standards, it was VERY tame. I was nervous the whole book waiting for that punch in the gut, but it never came.
Jack is the story of 16-year-old Jack, and it was so realistic it didn't even feel like fiction. The wriiting is good, the characters engaging; it was an enjoyable read. Jack is a funny little narrator, and there are comparisons to Holden Caufield, but Jack is WAY more normal and endearing.
There's nothing wrong with this book, it just lacked the depth, discomfort, and sophistication I've come to expect from Homes.
29. Gathering Blue - (7/4) - Lois Lowry 240p
4.5/5 This is hardly a sequel to The Giver, but I can sort of see where threads (ha!) will be tied together in the third book. And I wish I had the 3rd book here right now.
Though this is a return to the world of The Giver, I kind of like that there wasn't any rehashing of what went before. It's an entirely different story, with entirely new characters (Loved Matt).
It wasn't AS magical or beautiful as The Giver, but still I thought it was pretty darn good. Plus, I read it in like 3 hours.
30. Messenger - (7/5) - Lois Lowry 176p
This book definitely feels like more of a sequel to Gathering Blue than GB was to The Giver. We get more of Matt (yay), who is now Matty. And though they gave him an extra syllable in his name, they took away all the fun parts of his personality. (Boo!)
It almost feels like Lowry was running out of things to say, and this one felt like it had a Christian undertone. I don't want to say more for fear of giving things away. I liked it, but it wasn't anywhere near as good as the first two.
Overall, the book was a bit rushed with important parts never being fully explained, and the ending was nothing short of abrupt.
31. The Safety of Objects - (7/19) - A.M. Homes 176p
4/5I love the way Homes finds the deepest darkest thoughts in our psyches and exploits them.
This was a collection of short stories, some good, some great. Unfortunately, the nature of short stories didn't allow some of them to be as developed as they could have been. Though, Paul and Elaine from Music for Torching were 'born' in this book.
My favorite story was Esther in the Night. It was so disturbing. Not sure why I love things that disturb me so much.
32. Adam & Eve: A Novel - (8/3) - Sena Jeter Naslund 352p
4/5(pub date: September 28 - getting awful reviews, but I liked it)
There aren't any spoilers in this review. If something seems like a spoiler, it's nothing that's not mentioned on the dust jacket. If you've not read the dust jacket, and don't want any spoilers, then you should probably skip this.
I really liked this book. I found it original, fast-paced, fun and filled with wonderful characters. It's a very different kind of book, and I would encourage readers to keep an open mind. This isn't an [[ASIN:0061767654 Ahab's Wife]]-like retelling of Adam and Eve. It's kind of a thriller, with a codex and all that implies (i.e. religious uproar). It's also a little bit fantasy, a little bit love story, a little bit science fiction even.
It could have been a 5-star read for me, but there was some ridiculousness that I just could not get past. Conveniences that hampered the story rather than helped it. At one point, I just wanted to scream at the editors and demand they explain why they hadn't insisted on fixing it.
At times I found the writing and story flow choppy, which was so unexpected for Naslund because she usually writes beautifully. However, lodged between the bumpy and convenient beginning and end there is the oasis of Eden. The fictional Eden of the book, and the oasis of gorgeous writing and story telling. (Adam eating a tangerine ... Sublime! so simple, yet so beautiful) I loved that part of the story!
I feel like this book had an agenda (a couple actually), and the agenda got in the way of it being brilliant. The potential was there.
I've read (and loved) two other books by Naslund and I thought she was sort of a prissy writer. But this book showed me she's willing to get her hands dirty, and that makes me want to read more of her work. So while this book is not perfect, it's still a really engaging, fun read.
33. Dark Life - (8/15) - Kat Fails 304p
3/5For the first 64 pages of this novel, I thought the main character was a girl. It's probably my fault ... Perhaps the author did mention it, but it was jarring when on page 64 "Ty" was referred to as "my brother." I thought his sister was making a joke. (Incidentally, it was mentioned in the dust jacket, but I don't read dust jackets.) The point of bringing that up is that if the author was successfully writing a character with a strong male voice, I think I would have picked up on it sooner. (There was a little bit of teen-grade sexual tension with Ty and this girl Gemma, and I did think it was odd that a middle-grade book would have girl or girl action, but I figured, hey -- who am I to question? LOL)
I've read a lot of teen and young adult novels, and I just didn't find this to be as successful as some of the others. I thought the world Falls creative was imaginative and fun. But a bit under-developed.
The story was totally predictable, and even though it was geared to 9-12 years old, I think even they would have figured everything out pretty quickly.
It was engaging, fast-paced, and ultimately fun. So for the age-group I think it is a good read, but I don't think adults will be clamoring for it.
7. Enna Burning (Books of Bayern) - Shannon Hale 2.5/5 stars
You know how with a movie title like "Snakes on a Plane" you pretty much know what you are in for, right? Snakes on a Plane.
Well, Enna Burning is the same way. There's Enna and she's burning.
I listened to it on audio and it was the same full cast recording as with The Goose Girl. But even they couldn't salvage it. I bet the narrator NEVER wants to say the word 'burn' again.
The audio was 7 or 8 parts. The first 5 parts went a little something like this:
Heat, fire, burn, burning burned, fire, burn, heat, burning, fire, fire, heat, heat, heat, tendrils of heat, fire, burning, burned, burn, burn, burn burn fire burn heat. Fire. Burn.
Then it was sort of good for a little bit, and then it went a little something like this:
I love you Enna
No, I love YOU Izzy
No I love YOU Enna
No I love YOU Izzy
No I love... etc.
My power sucks, Izzy
No, MY power sucks Enna
No my power ....
What was missing from this story was the build up. In Goose Girl, there was an actual building toward something. We didn't know about the gift right from the start, we learned it gradually over the course of the story and it was suspensful and exciting. Same with the romance, you knew what was going to happen, but you didn't know know, like you knew in this book. Enna got her fire on page 2, (I'm exaggerating, but not by much) and the rest of the book was her sending her spidey sense out to feel the heat so she could burn something. And, ohhhhh, she liked to burn. Crackle. Heat. Fire. Burn.
ENDING THE SORT OF SPOILER
So yeah ... Not good, but I didn't hate it. Won't be moving on with the series though.
8. Radio Free Albemuth - Philip K. Dick 4/5 stars
4/5When I first really got into reading, I read fantasy and sci fi almost exclusively. (mostly fantasy.) Naturally, I burned out. It's been a really long time since I've read a sci fi so this was really fun. It was good enough that I will check out more Philip K. Dick.
9. The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ - Philip Pullman 1/5 stars
1/2 star Let me disclaim: I have no religious affiliation whatsoever, so my dislike of this book has absolutely nothing to do with any personal feelings about the subject matter.
If you are looking for an alternative look at Jesus, look elsewhere. Might I suggest Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal?
This was terrible. Really, incredibly, indulgent. No point, no redeeming qualities, not a clever point of view. Short, lazy, boring. It's a bunch of bible passages, tweaked, a couple of theories (truth vs. history), halfheartedly shoved down your throat.
It wasn't worthy of Pullman, and it wasn't worth of publication. I'm not going to spend 2 more seconds thinking about it.
10. Hunger Games - Audio - Suzanne Collins 4.5/5 stars
as good on audio as it was in written form
11. Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) - Audio - Suzanne Collins 5/5 stars
I'm SO excited about Mockingjay I could spit. And also, I'm sad that once Mockingjay is over, that's probably going to be it. I mean, realistically they can't keep it going.
I really found this better than the first one. The first one was so harsh for me, I needed to get a bit desensitized to subject so I could fully enjoy book 2. Plus, book 2 had that little something special. As a side note, my favorite of His Dark Materials was also book 2.
These are GREAT on audio, and I highly recommend a listen prior to the 24th. Like maybe on the 23rd .... so you won't have to wait THREE WHOLE WEEKS to find out what happens.
12. Paper Towns - John Green 5/5 stars
What a fun book! At first it reminded me of I Love You, Beth Cooper or Sixteen Candles, but it quickly grew into so much more for me.
It was smart, funny, current, relevant.
The audio was excellent. The reader really was able to capture youth in his voice.
If it hadn't been for the ending of this book, it would have made my top 10 of the year. Though it fit into the theme of the book, I found it a little diappointing and frankly, a bit over-explained.
I'm looking forward to checking out more of Green's work.
My complete list can be found here