Archive for the ‘Random Book Thoughts’ Category

Of COURSE I read The Fault in our Stars!! And OF COURSE I loved it! And OF COURSE I can’t wait to see the movie!! There are hundreds of reviews of this book out there, so I don’t need to add one more. Ok? Ok. LOVED (*****)


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I’ve been excited for the book Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald to be released in late March 2013, so I decided to re-read The Great Gatsby.


I loved the descriptions of Gatsby and the parties that he threw at his mansion, and the various characters that made appearances throughout the book.  Obviously I loved Daisy Buchanan and the distinct manner in which she spoke and commented on certain things.  I loved the way Nick Carraway was the narrator and his even-keeled way of looking at people and events.  I had completely forgotten what was actually quite a surprise ending, so it was a good surprise for me while re-reading it.  Once again, yet another book makes me want to have lived in the 1920’s!  This book, along with The Chaperone, Rules of Civility and In Sunlight and in Shadow showcase the best parts of conversations back in those days – when people used to be witty!

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I took a break from reading serious books / good books to do some light summer reading.  I don’t really think that any of them deserve full-on reviews, so here are a few blurbs about each:

Two Sookie Stackhouse books (Charlaine Harris) – Dead Reckoning and Deadlocked

What can I say? They are fun to read. These were just as fun as the previous 10 – I always enjoy a Sookie Stackhouse book filled with vampires, werewolves and faeries.

Women’s Murder Club (James Patterson) – 11th Hour 

The 11th book in the Women’s Murder Club series.  I enjoy reading the Murder Club  books because they are usually fast-paced, interesting and include some twists along the way… but they are starting to wear on my nerves with the way the author organizes the chapters!  There are usually only 1-2 pages per chapter, so the reader has to turn the page all the time since most pages are only half filled.  I assume it’s done to build suspense – “page-turning” suspense?  I just think it’s annoying.  Also, the main character, who is a police detective in her mid-30’s acts like a highschooler every time she has to deal with her personal relationship with her husband.

Bones Series (Kathy Reichs) – Flash & Bones

The 14th in the series of books that are the basis for the ‘Bones’ TV series.  This was my least favorite book.  Kathy Reichs usually does a good job giving some background detail, but this one centered around Nascar racing in Charlotte and boy did she overdo it on the detail.  Plus – the storyline just wasn’t all that interesting.  Maybe I just enjoy the ones that are located in Canada the most.  Here’s hoping it was just a slump.

 Kay Scarpetta Series (Patricia Cornwell) – Port Mortuary

I literally hated this one.  Wow was it awful.  I only started reading the Kay Scarpetta series about 2 book releases ago, meaning there were 15 others before I started reading them.  Maybe this one was just an anomaly.  

50 Shades of Grey Trilogy (E.L. James) – Fifty Shades of Grey, Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed

I picked up this trilogy to see what all the fuss was about and MAN did I regret it!! They were AWFUL.  The writing was terrible and so were the storylines. I HATED them and slogged through just to finish.

For some reason I didn’t have much luck with my summer reading this year.  Oh well! I guess I was looking for mindless entertainment, and THAT I did find!

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My YA Obsession

OK, I’ll admit it. Every once in a while, I enjoy reading the popular YA novels that are all the rage. I am not going to write full reviews of these books (because that would be a bit too embarrassing), but I will rank them in order of preference. My favorite YA books are the following:

  • Hunger Games Trilogy – LOVE
  • Flavia de Luce Mysteries – LOVE
  • Sookie Stackhouse books – LOVE
  • Twilight series – LOVE
  • Harry Potter books – LOVE

Hmmmm, OK – so maybe I LOVE them all, and I have a hard time putting one series higher than the other!! I really loved the Hunger Games trilogy, but that was the most recent YA series that I read, so it might just still be stuck in my mind. I also really liked The Host, by Stephanie Meyer (Twilight author). I picked that one up because I wasn’t ready to start reading ‘real’ books after finishing Twilight and it was a good way to continue with the YA books a bit longer.  The Flavia de Luce mysteries are absolutely adorable and laugh-out-loud funny.  Flavia and her sisters are such characters and the books are written so perfectly that I am always sad to think that there are only two books out currently (at least the third will be released in November!).

I always prefer to read the books before the movies come out so that I can picture them in my own way in my mind – I am so interested to see how The Hunger Games translates to the movies! So that’s my YA obsession … until the next big series is released!

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After reading In the Garden of Beasts (Erik Larson), I became entangled in a WWII book bucket! I immediately started reading Unbroken (Laura Hillenbrand), and when I finished that, I read 22 Britannia Road (Amanda Hodgkinson). I then read Once There Was a War (John Steinbeck) and then Hiroshima (John Hersey).  I am finally on the last book of my WWII book bucket – The Naked and the Dead (Norman Mailer). I think I have now exhausted my book bucket (for the time being, until I get stuck into one again), and once I finish my Norman Mailer, I will be able to move on to other topics!  My preferences, in order of most favorite to least favorite, of these books I recently read that fit into my WWII book bucket are:

  • Unbroken / Laura Hillenbrand / *****LOVE
  • In the Garden of Beasts / Erik Larson / *****LOVE
  • Hiroshima / John Hersey / ****Enjoyed
  • Once There Was a War / John Steinbeck / ****Enjoyed
  • 22 Britannia Road / Amanda Hodgkinson / ***AVERAGE

There are so many reviews of Unbroken out there that have been written that I won’t write another one here. All I can say is that it was INCREDIBLE and I would recommend it to anyone.  I re-read Hiroshima because I barely remembered reading it in high school, and I felt the need to re-read that experience after finishing Unbroken. The matter-of-fact style in which it is written is perfect for the story that it is telling. I was, however, very surprised at how difficult it was to buy a copy of the book on Amazon. I wonder if it’s not required reading for junior high/ high schoolers anymore? If it isn’t, it should be. 

Once There Was a War is a collection of short stories that John Steinbeck wrote while he was a war correspondent during WWII.  They are about nothing in particular, and each one is very different. Most of all, they try to describe the every day lives of the soldiers, and they do a good job of that. These pieces were originally published in newspapers and magazines as they were written, and this is a good compilation. Some are definitely better than others though, which makes it a bit slow-going at times. Others are laugh-out-loud funny, which makes it enjoyable at times!

The Naked and the Dead is a book about WWII in the Pacific… and I am finally exhausting my thirst for these WWII books! (See my full reviews of In The Garden of Beasts and 22 Britannia Road for my thoughts on those 2 remaining books)

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As I have written many times before in this blog, I have a hard time moving away from certain categories of books. That is why, after reading Countess Kate, I immediately started the most recent Flavia de Luce mystery – A Red Herring Without Mustard – by Alan Bradley. Both books have, as their central characters, mischievous little girls that manage to get into trouble at every turn (sometimes it’s their doing, sometimes it’s their bad luck). Both books are set in England, and while Countess Kate is set in the 1800’s, Flavia roamed her little corner of England right after WWII. Both books and both characters are adorable and make for fun, light, easy reading.  Maybe I’m stuck in this category because of the recent to-do about the Royal Wedding??

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My Book Buckets

Here’s my problem: Once I start reading a book on a particular theme, I can’t stop. I once read a book on the history of France, and I then proceeded to read 5 other books on French royalty or living in France. A few years ago, I read one historical fiction book about Queen Elizabeth I, and proceeded to read nothing but books on English royalty or life in England for about a year.

As a result, many of the books I have read can be put into buckets because – once I start reading about a topic, I don’t want to stop. Case in point: as I have written about previously in this blog, I recently read The Paris Wife, a book about the wife of Ernest Hemingway. When I finished that, I immediately ordered a real biography of Hadley Hemingway, and while I waited for that biography, I re-read A Moveable Feast and The Sun Also Rises.

Last year I read a book called The Mitford Girls, by Mary Lovell. I then proceeded to read The Mitfords: Letters Between Six Sisters and The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate (by Nancy Mitford). I am currently reading Voltaire in Love (by Nancy Mitford) and have recently placed on my list of books to read: Irrepressible: The Life and Times of Jessica Mitford.

Here are some of my ‘buckets’:

  • WWII
  • England
  • France
  • Royalty
  • Mitfords
  • Russia
  • Crime/ Mystery/ Suspense

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