I can’t believe it’s almost NYE 2015. Goodreads reminded me this morning, 2015 is OVER. Luckily it also said something positive, You completed your Goodreads Challenge! I put down 200 books because I thought that sounded legit and then ended up reading 305. Let me clarify, I put most all books I read on there. Because I order books for our children’s department when they come I read them all so I know how to hand them off to kids. This means I could read 20 picture books while sitting at the desk. Those count. Which means for my Goodreads Challenge 2016 I may have to up my number a bit. I went back through all 300 books I read and decided which 3 were the best of the my year (not necessarily published this year but read by me this year). Side note, it took me about an hour to pick 3 books and I was really upset that I couldn’t pick 10 or 20 because narrowing down to 3 was hard. But I loved going through them all because when you read as much as I do, you forget what you read. “Oh right, that was a good book!” was said out loud a lot.
Monty’s Magnificent Mane by Gemma O’Neill. I picked this book because I love her illustrations. I follow her on Facebook and sometimes she sells them. They are SO beautiful. I prefer her other book, Oh Dear, Geoffery! because I love giraffes but Monty was just as beautiful. Mainly chosen for the illustrations and not necessarily the story.
Forest Feast by Erin Gleesen is an amazing and simple cookbook. I’m not a good cook and it’s hard to be a vegetarian sometimes. I really liked this and her mix of real photos and illustrations was lovely.
I think my favorite adult book was Maine by Courtney J. Sullivan. There were so many but I just loved all the characters in Maine. And the setting immediately made me Google Maine and I’m definitely going to make a trip there once it’s not covered in snow. Just looking at the woman on the cover makes me envious. I did really like Some Luck by Jane Smiley as well, however I don’t like that it’s a trilogy.
There are SO many more I could have chosen. Just look through all my blog posts if you need other ideas.
I have so many things going right now. And since I haven’t finished any of them to review I’m just going to tell you what they are.
The Menagerie by Rachel Vincent. A Night Circus comparison was given somewhere in the blogosphere so I checked it out.
House of Thieves by Charles Belfoure. Someone said that this book is everything they wanted Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norell to be.
Book Riot All the Books keeps raving about this book, Sorcerer to the Crown. It’s Rebecca’s go-to amazing book.
The holidays have put me in a panic and my blog posts are struggling. While I’ve been running around doing all this stuff I’ve been frantically listening to audio books, so yay! I just finished Some Luck by Jane Smiley who I LOVE. Like literally, I was reading a book where she wrote the preface and thought well ok, I must buy this book for everyone I know. If Jane Smiley endorses it, it’s gold to me. (The book was Family Furnishings by Alice Munro in case you were wondering.)
Some Luck was amazing. I read somewhere (I’ll find it and put it at the end*) that said Jane Smiley wanted to write a book in every possible theme. This is her trilogy. Some Luck is book one. I kept wanting to read it but I committed myself when the third book came out. If all three books are out, I will commit. I have a love/hate relationship with reading a series that is not finished. I don’t like waiting for the other books to come out so I much prefer when they’re all available for me to whip right through. I have started book two, Early Warning, in this one already.
Some Luck follows a farm family in Iowa, Rosanna and Walter Langdon, with their 5 kids. I assume book two will then follow the kids and their lives and so on. Amazing.
*Article: Smiley set out to write a novel in every literary genre: romance, comedy, epic and tragedy. Now the best-selling author is taking on another literary tradition — the trilogy.
This book has been generating lots of reviews and buzz. Waking Brain Cells, a blog I read, had a great review of it a few months back. She called it horror. I’m not sure I would, although it’s hard for me to define juvenile horror in my head because everything I associate with horror wouldn’t be appropriate for children. It was definitely quirky. Steve’s brother is ill. Some sort of congenital disease that needs fixing. As a matter of fact, no one is sure whether it can be fixed. Therein lies the problem. The night after Steve is stung by a wasp, which he finds he’s allergic to, he begins having dreams with the queen bee. She says she can fix his baby brother. Little does he know fixing actually means replacing. Everything goes to hell from there. Steve has some OCD so he’s afraid of a lot of things, not just wasps, and I’m not sure his fear could be categorized as horror but it is semi-scary when he starts killing them off with a huge knife blade. At the beginning it almost seemed a bit too informational, going into the detail of pupae and larva or wasps. Definitely an interesting read, although I’m not sure what all the buzz is about out there on the interwebs. I’ve read better.
Book Trailer (I never understood the point of book trailers, but there it is)
New York Times (they were also underwhelmed)
Apparently the NYT and I are in the minority however because it received star reviews in these 3 journals.
School Library Journal, Publisher’s Weekly, & Kirkus
Who doesn’t love Roald Dahl? I mean seriously.
I read the first book in this series, Winter Street, last year and liked it. It had a cliff hanger ending so I kind of knew a book two was forthcoming. This second book also has a cliff hanger ending so it must continue for the next umpteen Christmases. I usually hate series books and I definitely hate cliff hanger endings but these people are so normal and lovable that I don’t mind waiting to see what happens. It did take a few flips between people (its multiple POVs) to remember who everyone was but other than that it was great jumping back in to their lives. It is about Kelly, an inn owner on Nantucket, and his family. I always love a good Cape book and Elin Hilderbrand writes good ones. I’ve read some of her other books as well so if you enjoy this one try one of her non-holiday ones too!
As I was writing the title of this post I thought to myself, is Jessie a girl or a boy? Who wrote this amazing book?! Jessie is a she and she has a book coming out next year that I will most definitely be reading called, The Muse. On to The Miniaturist! I would have never read this book of my own accord. It was suggested to me by a new friend and co-worker (hey Dawn!). We seem to have very similar personalities despite the fact that our actual lives couldn’t be any more different (she has 4 kids). She said she was listening to it in her car and was so addicted that she checked it out and was then reading it once she left her car. Sounds like me! #twinsies
Nella is married off to the highest bidder when her father dies and her family quickly becomes poor. The bidder is named Johannes and is 20 years her senior. Nella isn’t bothered by this much and actually wants to be his wife. She’s excited to be a wife. Wants to keep the house and have his kids, etc. However, he does not really want a wife for reasons untold at the beginning and once she arrives at her new home she realizes she’s not really the lady of the house. Johannes has a sister named Marin who does not welcome Nella into her home and is definitely not going to relinquish her title as head of the household to this eighteen-year-old nothing. Trouble ensues quickly and most of it concerns Johannes and his marriage gift to Nella, a miniature version of their house. There were lots of twists and turns, most of them I did not see coming. Hopefully you don’t either and you enjoy it as much as I did.
Here are some other more important people who also enjoyed it
The Guardian (some spoilers)
New York Times (has a few other suggestions!)