1.01.2011

Final Reads of 2010

I know, I know, I've been criminally behind in reading, reviewing and blogging anything, but I'm going to try and make up for some lost time here, so let's go!

Dating Mr. December by Phillipa Ashley

This was a cute enough British, Christmas, chick lit romance...thingy. I seemed to get bogged down in it for some reason, but it was cute enough...











The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

This slim nonfiction novel was getting a lot of positive buzz, and was actually a very zen, very pleasant read. Bailey is confined to her bed by an unnamed illness, and a friend brings her a small snail, who becomes her only connection to the broader world. Introspective, filled with snail facts, and easy to read. Hard to categorize, but pleasant. :-)






 Good Enough to Eat by Stacey Ballis

I've read a previous novel by Ballis, and I really, really enjoy her novels. She has such great, relate-able characters, and this one was no different. Melanie was a successful lawyer who had a great marriage, lots of money, but was on the heavy side. She lost half her body weight, opened her own gourmet healthy cafe, and then her husband left her...for another heavy woman. This novel tracks Melanie's journey, her new life, her new love, and her quest to love herself for herself. A great read. :-)






Third Degree by Maggie Barbieri

This is the latest "Murder 101" novel from Barbieri, and I'm a huge fan of this series! I love the character of Alison, professor-cum-murder magnet, and her cop boyfriend Crawford, and this time, both of them are thrust into the middle of another "wrong place wrong time" murder chase. Another great addition - Barbieri is light, funny, and writes great mysteries! Highly recommend this series!






The Stormchasers by Jenna Blum

I don't quite know how to summarize this novel, except to say without hesitation that I LOVED it. Fraternal twins, bipolar disorder, tornadoes, romance, a separation, a chase, and a lot of introspection....this novel has it all, tied up in a smartly written, fast-paced, lovely novel that really delves into characters rather than action. I really love this one - I'm going to be recommending it a lot (Nat, this means you!).






The Hate List by Jennifer Brown

This is a fantastic YA novel, recommended to me by Dana (our YA librarian). Though 400 pages, I absolutely tore through this novel in an afternoon, fascinated by the subject matter: a school shooting from the persective of the girlfriend of the shooter, who had no prior knowledge of the event, and who is then clearly ostracized by the school after the event. After reading this great novel, I immediately checked out Columbine by Dave Cullen.....





A Plain and Simple Christmas by Amy Clipston

Every year, I have to read at least a couple of the new Christmas novels, and this one, set in Amish country, has been quite popular. A shunned daughter, a pregnancy, a snowstorm, and of course, a happy ending - a typical, but sweet, Christmas novel.








Something Like Fate by Susane Colasanti

I thought this was a great cover, so I grabbed this YA novel. A well written tale about the typical triangle: best friend likes best friend's boyfriend, but then boyfriend starts to like her too.....I thought this was a well told tale, and left me guessing until the end...









As Husbands Go by Susan Isaacs

I've read Isaacs in the past, but it had been a long time, so I thought I would check out this one (great cover and title, right?). For some reason, I got seriously bogged down in this novel, so obviously I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. A dead husband, a hooker's apartment, and stunned "upper east side" NYC wife...it sounded good, but it...well, wasn't what I wanted, I guess.






Demon Ex Machina by Julie Kenner

I've always enjoyed Kenner's "Tales of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom" series, featuring suburban housewife, part time demon hunter Kate Connor, and her family, her friends, her first husband back from the dead and a bunch of demons. Wry and witty, fast and furious, this is a great book to add to the series...but rumour has it that it might be the last? I would miss Kate, but she ended it well.....












Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok

I listened to this novel, which details the teen years of a Chinese immigrant girl and her mother, as they work in a factory, try to assimilate to society and school, and struggle to find their places in their new homeland. I found this slow moving and pretty predictable, and at times, didn't really like the main teenage character. I think if I hadn't been on the road and listening to this, I probably would have put down the book and not picked it back up again. Sigh.





Hitchhiking Vietnam by Karin Muller

This was a book Mum read several years ago, and I've been reading it a paragraph or two at a time every time I've visited Dad's house for the last year or so. Muller travels to Vietnam on her own to travel and explore, and this memoir lets us follow along with her trials and tribulations - and from the sounds of it, it was a lot more tribulations than triumphs. I was almost glad for both of us when it was over! Interesting, but not something I would read again...







The Idiot Girl and the Flaming Tantrum of Death by Laurie Notaro

Another collection of essays, another excuse for a lot of laughs! Notaro still goes for the easiest laugh, but she had some serious essays in here as well. Not as "laugh out loud" as her others, but some choice moments.








The Double Cross by Clare O'Donohue

This is a newest entry to the "Someday Quilts" mystery series, and I was happy to again visit with Nell Fitzgerald and the Someday Quilts ladies, but this one didn't grab me like the others have...maybe because the story took place in a bed and breakfast away from Archer's Rest, or because all the extraneous characters got a little muddy and silly. I still love the series, but this one wasn't my favorite of them all....






Born in Shame by Nora Roberts

This is the final book in the "Born In" trilogy, taking place in County Clare, Ireland. I know a lot of people turn up their noses at Roberts because she's popular and prolific, but I personally love her novels, and this trilogy was definitely one of my favorites! I was sorry to see it end...and I enjoyed listening to all three of them for sure!







Simply Irresistible by Jill Shalvis

I like Shalvis' fun chick lit novels, so I was happy to see a new series from her (the "Lucky Harbor" series). Three sisters inherit a run down hotel in Lucky Harbor, and Maddie Moore is the one who really wants to stay and take care of it - and scoops up a romance with the local hottie mayor in the process. Shalvis is light and easy reading - enjoyable!







The Personal History of Rachel DuPree by Ann Weisgarber

Nat recommended this novel, which takes place in pioneering times, but interestingly, features an African-American family, instead of the typical pioneering tale, which added an extra element to the tale. Rachel is a great character, but the story itself I thought was pretty bleak - but then again, I would have made a crappy pioneer. ;-)









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1 comment:

Stacey Ballis said...

Thanks so much for your kind words and recommendation :)