Top Ten Books of 2014

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & the Bookish. It’s awesome. Every Tuesday, the lovely ladies over there give us book bloggers wonderful and fun topics to create our lists! Check out what others have posted by going over there!

http://brokeandbookish.blogspot.com

This week’s topic is -

Top Ten Books I Read in 2014

This was a little hard for me- some books jumped out at me, while others I really had to consider.

1.  Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

2.  Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

3.  The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

4.  The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell

5.  Bag of Bones by Stephen King

6.  One Plus One by Jojo Moyes

7.  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

8.  We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas

9.  The Green Mile by Stephen King

10. Bellweather Rhapsody by Kate Racculia

What was your ABSOLUTE favorite book of 2014?

The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood

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The Killer Next Door

by Alex Marwood

published by Penguin Books

2014

I received an advance review copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

My Review

I haven’t yet read this author’s The Wicked Girls, but had heard very good things about it, so I was excited to receive and ARC of her new work The Killer Next Door.  I am usually a little creeped out by serial killers- maybe it is due to overexposure to James Patterson and Patricia Cornwell in my formative years?  When I began this book, I felt it was going to be a drag, but by the second chapter I was totally hooked.  Marwood gives an array of interesting and well written characters, Cher, Collet, Vesta, Hossein and Thomas.  All from very different walks of life, they find themselves neighbors living in small rooms in a suburb of London.  The author takes us back and forth between these characters and the killer living in the building with them.  The parts with the killer, called the Lover, actually made my skin crawl-but in a good way!  Marwood has given us an amazing story- wonderful, rich characters wrapped in a mystery.  Read this book!  You will not want to put it down.

Summary

Alex Marwood’s debut novel, The Wicked Girls, earned her lavish praise from the likes of Stephen King, Laura Lippman, and Erin Kelly, and was shortlisted for an Edgar Award. Now Marwood’s back with a brilliant, tightly paced thriller that will keep you up at night and make you ask yourself: just how well do you know your neighbors?
Everyone who lives at 23 Beulah Grove has a secret. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be renting rooms in a dodgy old building for cash—no credit check, no lease. It’s the kind of place you end up when you you’ve run out of other options. The six residents mostly keep to themselves, but one unbearably hot summer night, a terrible accident pushes them into an uneasy alliance. What they don’t know is that one of them is a killer. He’s already chosen his next victim, and he’ll do anything to protect his secret. (from Goodreads).

Top Ten Authors New To Me in 2014

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ttt2jpg

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke & the Bookish. It’s awesome. Every Tuesday, the lovely ladies over there give us book bloggers wonderful and fun topics to create our lists! Check out what others have posted by going over there!

http://brokeandbookish.blogspot.com

This week’s topic is -

Top Ten Authors New to Me in 2014

So, looking over the books I have read so far this year, I am disturbed to find that I really did not read many new authors!  I feel shame and will try better in 2015!

1.  Hannah Kent- Burial Rites

2.  Graeme Simsion- The Rosie Project

3. Gabrielle Zevin- The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

4. Beatriz Williams- The Secret Life of Violet Grant

5. Matthew Thomas- We Are Not Ourselves

6.  Lois Lowry- The Giver

7.  Monica McInerney- Hello From the Gillespies

8. Sherman Alexie- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian

9.  Andra Watkins-To Live Forever- An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis

10.  Priya Parmar- Vanessa and Her Sister

Can you recommend a new author for me?

Bookish (& Nots So Bookish) Thoughts

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Bookish & Not So Bookish Thoughts

( a week late)

is a weekly meme hosted by Christine over at Bookishly Boisterous, where we post things that are on our minds.  Head over there and check it out!

1.  I think it is a proven corollary that the more I read, the less I post.  I am so sorry! Between the holidays and all the reading I am doing, the post has fallen to the bottom.

2.  Speaking of holidays, my turkey ROCKED!  It was so awesome, and everything went so nicely-except everyone was late due to crazy traffic because of all the snow we got.  I even went temporarily insane and said I would host next year.

3.  Fast forward to Monday, and BAM! my back goes out.  Three days later as I walk out of the Dr.’s office with some nice muscle relaxants, he tells me it’s probably from all the lifting from hosting Thanksgiving.  Ha!  I have a Dr’s note to excuse me now!

4.  I read Revival, King’s latest.  I loved it, but it definitely left me feeling very down.  And a little creeped out.

5.  We booked a trip to Lake Placid to ski this month and we are all so excited!  Lake Placid is one of my absolute favorite places.

6.  My teenagers are the worst to buy Christmas presents for.  “What do you want?”  Them- “I don’t know.”  Argh!  How about some Legos and an American Girl Doll???  No, its- Taylor Swift tickets and a PS 4.  Right.

7.  My daughter is away with her school to participate in the Model Congress at Yale this weekend.  I cried for almost 15 minutes after I dropped her off.  Yes, I was the crazy lady crying in the car next to you.

8.  I am so close to my goodreads 100 books in a year challenge.  I need some great recommendations for quick reads.  I am determined to complete it this year.  Last year, I read 99.  Damn.

9.  I also need to jam the reading in while trying to get ready for Christmas in a condensed timeframe due to above mentioned trip and back issues.  Can I give everyone a coupon for a hug??

10.  We got our Christmas tree this past Saturday from the tree farm we have been going to for 20 years.  I love holiday traditions.

So-any recommendations?  Books?  Gifts for teen boys and girls?

The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion

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The Rosie Effect 

by Graeme Simsion

published by Text Publishing Company

2014

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

My review

I loved The Rosie Effect and was really looking forward to this sequel.  It is written exactly like the first book, and brings back all the old characters, while introducing some new ones.  Don Tillman is as quirky as ever, as he struggles to figure out his new role as an expectant father.  If you were hoping that Don had changed at all, you will be very disappointed.  While it is a very fun, quick read, The Rosie Effect doesn’t really bring anything new into the story we all enjoyed in the first book.  I enjoyed hearing about Don, Rosie, Gene and others again.  If you have some time for a fun fast book, this is perfect.

a great quote-

“Boy or girl?’ said Rosie. ‘Male, I think.’ I checked my message. ‘No, female.’ It was a detail that could have waited. It would be years before the difference was important.” 

Summary

GREETINGS. My name is Don Tillman. I am forty-one years old. I have been married to Rosie Jarman, world’s most perfect woman, for ten months and ten days.

Marriage added significant complexity to my life. When we relocated to New York City, Rosie brought three maximum-size suitcases. We abandoned the Standardised Meal System and agreed that sex should not be scheduled in advance.

Then Rosie told me we had ‘something to celebrate’, and I was faced with a challenge even greater than finding a partner.

I have attempted to follow traditional protocols and have sourced advice from all six of my friends, plus a therapist and the internet.

The result has been a web of deceit. I am now in danger of prosecution, deportation and professional disgrace.

And of losing Rosie forever.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

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Burial Rites

by Hannah Kent

published by

2013

I borrowed an audiobook copy of this novel from my library.

My Review

When this book was published last year, it received  some really wonderful reviews from all over.  I remember other bloggers LOVED this book.  I read the synopsis and-meh- couldn’t really push myself to pick this up.  It sounded too dry and bleak.  Fast forward a year, and give me two teens who go to a school that is a 40 minute drive from home.  I have never listed to an audiobook before, but figured I should give it a try since I was spending so much time in the car now.  I grabbed Burial Rites on cd, figuring I would give it a shot.

First day, I was going a little crazy.  I thought-” Damn, I read so much faster than this lady is reading!!”  Then, I settled down, and I found I couldn’t stop listening.  I actually sat in my driveway until the track was over.  The story was amazing.  I found myself not only wrapped up in the story or Agnes, and the family housing her, but also about Iceland in the 1800’s.  I had to look up as much as I could about everything, because it was so fascinating.  To add to this, the audiobook was narrated byMorven Christie.  Her voice can transport you to the Iceland of the story better than reading the words yourself.  I loved her cadence and think I enjoyed the story so much better for having listed to her narration.

If you have not read this book, I would definitely recommend it to you.  More importantly, I would recommend the audiobook.  I think I might be a convert.

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Summary

Set against Iceland’s stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. 

Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes’s death looms, the farmer’s wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they’ve heard. 

Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?

Some great quotes-

“To know what a person has done, and to know who a person is, are very different things.” 

“They will see the whore, the madwoman, the murderess, the female dripping blood into the grass and laughing with her mouth choked with dirt. They will say “Agnes” and see the spider, the witch caught in the webbing of her own fateful weaving. They might see the lamb circled by ravens, bleating for a lost mother. But they will not see me. I will not be there.”

“Now comes the darkening sky and a cold wind that passes right through you, as though you are not there, it passes through you as though it does not care whether you are alive or dead, for you will be gone and the wind will still be there…”

The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon

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The Mime Order (The Bone Season #2)

by Samantha Shannon

published by Bloomsbury

expected publication- January 2015

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

 

My Review

When I read The Bone Season last year, I was pretty surprised by how much I liked it.  It was certainly not my kind of book, a little too dystopian/sci fi for me.   But I loved it, and I was very excited for a chance to read the sequel before it was published.  Net Galley was very emphatic that the version I read is NOT the finalized version that will come out in January.  Well, I thought it was great!  It has been sometime since I read the first book, and it took me awhile to remember all the characters, especially since the names are all pretty strange.  Once I got that all sorted, I was hooked just as much as I was with the first book.  It is a little hard to actually summarize, but if you read and enjoyed The Bone Season, read this book.  Then sit around and wonder why the third isn’t out yet!  But keep in mind, this is the second in what is supposed to be a series of SEVEN books!  Yeah- lots to look forward to.

Summary

Paige Mahoney has escaped the brutal penal colony of Sheol I, but her problems have only just begun: many of the fugitives are still missing and she is the most wanted person in London.

As Scion turns its all-seeing eye on Paige, the mime-lords and mime-queens of the city’s gangs are invited to a rare meeting of the Unnatural Assembly. Jaxon Hall and his Seven Seals prepare to take center stage, but there are bitter fault lines running through the clairvoyant community and dark secrets around every corner.

Then the Rephaim begin crawling out from the shadows. But where is Warden? Paige must keep moving, from Seven Dials to Grub Street to the secret catacombs of Camden, until the fate of the underworld can be decided. Will Paige know who to trust? The hunt for the dream walker is on. (from Goodreads)