Books I Read In November and December. And a Give Away!

So one of my goals after gazillions of dollars worth of therapy is to read less.  I think it’s a healthy goal.  I know it might seem counter intuitive to say this while the rest of the world is resolving to read more, but for me reading had become a weird thing I was doing to meet a quota. I was reading books I hated just so I could add them to a list.  And worse, I was using it as a retreat from my family.  I’d go into my little bedroom cave and ignore everyone while my husband did bedtime and wrangled two high strung children and then watched tv by himself.

My life needs to not be a retreat, and it needs to not be lived  just so I can put on my blog that I read so! many! books! aren’t I AMAZING? My life needs to be something I love.  This is the year I do less things I think I am supposed to do so I can do more things I love.  Reading will always be a huge part of my life but it needs to be not a box I am trying to check off for imaginary life points, and not an everyday retreat from the real world.

So I don’t know if I will continue on listing out what I read every month. I don’t even know if I will continue writing here.  I didn’t WANT to write this post but I felt like I wanted to finish out my year of books, so I did it, but I am not going to spend a lot of time in 2014 making myself write blog posts I don’t want to write.  I do have a lot of thoughts but they seem really personal. I am holding things close to the vest, it seems. I am changing, I think, for the better, but it’s a gritty, strange, unknown process.  Who knows what will emerge in the end. Anyway.

This is what I read in November and December.  It’s barely anything, go me.

128.  The Husband’s Secret

the husbands secret

I have no idea why I read this, since I didn’t like What Alice Forgot.  Spoiler Alert: I didn’t like this either.

129. The Secret Keeper

the secret keeper

I tried so hard to like this because Janssen loved it but it just didn’t do it for me.

130. Cupcake Decorating Lab

cupcake decorating lab


131.  Warm Bodies

warm bodies

Oh wow.  I SUPER SUPER SUPER HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATED this book.  The rage, it is still strong.

132.  The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant

unseemly education

Full disclosure, one of my Super Friends, Jennie, sent me the galley of this book, but regardless of that, I really really really really liked it.  I loved the main character and it was such a fresh read after all the derivative YAF crap I have read this year and even if my friend did not work for the publisher, I promise you, I would have liked it. In fact I was rather stressed that I would not like it because then WHAT WOULD I SAY but no worries. It’s good,  and I loved the twist at the end which I did not see coming although probably you are smarter than I am so I make no promises. If it had a weak spot it would be the love interest who I thought was slightly a drip, but still.  Totally recommend if you like Fantasy YAF.  AND if you leave me a  comment on this post telling me your favorite book you’ve read in the past two months you can win a copy of your very own, providing you live in Canada or the United States.  Yeah!

133.  Songs of Willow Frost

songs of willow frost

This was just SO boring.

134.  This Song Will Save Your Life

this song will save your life

I liked this, but I did not love it.  It was a quick entertaining read, but it had a lot of plot holes.  The title was the best part of the whole book.

135.  Something Like Normal

something like normal

I really enjoyed this book, actually.  It’s not perfection or anything but it’s a perfectly serviceable YAF romance. I loved the girl interest so that helped. It reminded me for some strange reason of Magic Mike, which I was a big fan of.

136.  Where the Stars Still Shine

where the stars still shine

After I read Something Like Normal I finally found Trish Doller’s new book at my library.  Spoiler Alert, it’s this book.  Anyway, this was also slightly on the idiotic side, even for YAF, but it was saved for me by the romance, which I loved, actually a lot like her first book.  She writes that sassy girl/cocky boy thing really really well.  I could see how it’s not for everyone but it pushed all my “super hot bad boy likes me” buttons.  Also, I read it in a night.  It’s no best book of the year but it worked.  I look forward to whatever else she writes.

So! If you want to win a copy of The Unseemly Education of Anne Merchant, and you live in the US or Canada, just leave me a comment on this post by Friday January 3rd telling me your favorite book of the year.  My 2013 Best Books of the Year post should go up next week, as well, provided I don’t lose my mind between now and then after being trapped in the house with these two ankle biters for six days.  Funsies!




46 Responses

  1. I read Timebound by Rysa Walker and LOVED it. YAF-sci fi

  2. My favorite (finished last night!) was Attachments. I know everyone else preferred Fangirl, but ugh. That one wasn’t for me.

  3. My favorite so far was Ready Player One. Loved it!! I will miss your book recs, but totally get the reasons why you are cutting back.

  4. 84, Charing Road is a series of letters between a woman and a bookshop in London and I loved it. Just charming.

  5. I just finished Mule: A Novel of Moving Weight by Tony D’Souza & liked it quite a bit. Very Breaking Bad-style story. I didn’t love it, but it broke a streak of books I couldn’t get interested in so it got extra points.

  6. I absolutely adored the Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood!

  7. If you feel like doing any blogging at all, I still love What I Wore This Week. Very helpful to me! But I can see how you might be tired of it.

    My favorite book … Maybe Divergent. Maybe The Twelve. Maybe Gone Girl? I read a lot of fun books this year.

  8. Just finished Allegiant this weekend, so that’s what’s fresh in my mind.

  9. Eleanor and Park. Triple loved this book. Simple; perfect.

  10. For my favorite book this year, I haven’t been able to decide between Eleanor and Park and Code Name Verity. Apparently, I was really into crying this year.

  11. I love your book reviews, and if you’ve loved it, I always, always request it at the library. But, I get it.

    Best book this year…

    Ready Player One
    Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore

  12. I love, love, loved The Orchardist. So worth staying awake for an 8-hour plane trip. I also balled my head off, which was a little embarrassing.

  13. Loved Eleanor and Park. And for nonfiction – cannot stop thinking about Overdressed.

  14. I will be sad not to see what you’ve been reading, but I just want to commend you on making good choices for yourself and your family rather than the choice I, (a stranger in texas) would prefer. Go mental health!

    These comments are so interesting because someone loved my least favorite book of the year and someone ‘ugh’d my favorite book of the year. Fangirl was like a nice warm hug and I liked it.

  15. I think my favorite book published in 2013 was The Interestings. I say “I think” because I feel lucky to have read a ton of great books this year!

  16. Hmmm. Probably Days of Blood & Starlight, or Fangirl.

    Also, life is too short to write blog posts you don’t want to write.

  17. Hold whatever you need to, close to your heart for as long as you need to Elizabeth. I’m glad to hear you feel change happening, for the better. You DESERVE this. You deserve all the best, all the happiness and all the best for YOU. Really. You do. You’re in my heart and thoughts! xo

  18. A good book I just finished was City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte. Some mystery, some historical stuff, some mystical stuff, some sex. Fun!

  19. “Arcadia” by Lauren Groff was one of the best books I read this year. It came out in 2012 but sat forgotten on my bookshelf for almost 10 months before I found it while reorganizing last month! Keep the tissues close though because you will cry.

  20. Totally get the whole book retreat thing. One year I read 10-12 books a month on top of a job that required me to read case law 60 hours a week. Unhappiest and most insecure year ever. I’m down to reading 1 book a month for pleasure and lots of articles for work.
    Best book this year Modern Buddhism: path to compassion and wisdom. It was a lot of accept the suffering and get over it but also a lot of pause before you get upset. Which I need!

  21. The best book I read this year? That’s tough for me, as I like way too many genres that probably shouldn’t compete with each other. The Girls Of Atomic City was the most excited I’ve been to sit down and read. So let’s say that one.

  22. I just read The Little Princess to my daughter, which is one of my favorite books ever.
    Keep blogging in some fashion or another; I will read whatever you write!

  23. Not sure if I’ve commented before, but just wanted to say that I SO ENJOY your blog and hope you’ll keep writing. Reading/reviewing 10+ books per month is a total non-requirement for me though—if anything, it’s intimidating. 🙂

    You are wonderful, Elizabeth.

  24. […] Don’t forget to go enter my give away if you haven’t yet, and thank you for all the good book suggestions over there! Here’s hoping 2014 is the Year I Love All The Books. […]

  25. I’m just in the middle of Just One Evil Act by Elizabeth George. I was looking at the cover and it said “18th Lynley novel” or somesuch and I was boggled that I have read all of them…and loved every one of them. I enjoy your “What I Wore” posts as well as everything else you write. You come from a place of authenticity and I appreciate that.

  26. Have you read The Cartographer of No Man’s Land? So not my usual fare but I think it was my favorite book of the year.

  27. My favorite books of the year were both recommended here on your blog – Life After Life (I had read other Kate Atkinson novels before but this one was just amazing) and Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore. That was so fun and funny and quick. Thanks for the awesome suggestions, always. 🙂

  28. I’m finally reading more, not less, and mostly am mostly happy about it. Though when I get caught up in a book I see how destructive it is on the rest of my life – sitting on the couch or in bed or wherever, reading reading reading, while people around me go on with their lives, without me. If only there were more hours in the day!

    Favorite book of the year was Eleanor and Park – LOVED it. And as a result I now have a tiny crush on my kids’ tae kwon do instructor. So wrong.

  29. I think for me it’s a tie between Heft and The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint. Thank you for all the great book reviews. Also, loved what you had to say about the new Bridget Jones book. Could not agree more!

  30. I really loved Mr. Penumbra, but I think News From Heaven was my favorite.

  31. The best book I’ve read in the last two months would be Timebound by Rysa Walker. I got it free from a Kindle thing but it comes out in January and it is YA fantasy and I LOVED it.

  32. The best book I read in 2013 was The Signature of All Things, by Elizabeth Gilbert

  33. My favorite books from the last two months were The Snow Child and Sophie Kinsella’s I’ve Got Your Number. Totally different books, but I loved them both.

  34. Orphan Train was my favorite book this year. Loved Me Before You as we’ll.

  35. Sometimes, as a blog reader, I have to remind myself that a blogger is allowed to write what they want to write, whether it’s what I want or not. You’d think, as a blogger, I would find that easier to remember! So do what you want to, and need to. I hope you keep writing but that’s just me being selfish.

    I recently read Miss Buncle’s Book again and loved it. It’s one of my two favorite new-to-me books this year (the other being Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance; odd combo, right?).

  36. Oh, Code Name Verity was far and away the best book I read in 2013. Man, I loved that book.

  37. So a lot of my favorites are on your top 10 or the year. I loved Me Before You. And Fangirl! I liked E & P ok but it seemed kinda depressing with a terrible ending. And because I love chef/food writing, Marcus Samulssen’s autobiography, Yes, Chef was awesome.

  38. Oh Elizabeth! I’m just seeing this and MAN. I’m really proud of you for all these changes. Choosing what makes you happy & fulfilled & present is never, ever a bad thing. I’m so excited for you!

    Best book of the last two months: I am totally sucked into Life After Life right now. Completely and totally sucked in.

  39. Not sure how many books I read in 2013. Does love and logic count?

  40. Good on ya for the positive changes you’re making… I’m selfish for knowing that I’ll miss your reviews, but I’m so glad for you.

    My favorite book this year… hmm. Toss up between We Are Water and The Book Thief.

    Most hated (even though you didn’t ask, ha): Allegiant. WORST.

  41. The fault beneath our stars was hands down the best book I read this year. My husbands cousin raved and raved about it over and over again, so I finally picked it up. Blown away.

  42. My fave was JUST finished a few days ago. The Rosie Project, by Graeme Simsion. LOVED it. Love.

  43. Fangirl and Attachments, I can’t decide between them. Me Before You. American Wife. Write what you want to write, Elizabeth. We’ll be here for it, no matter what it is.

  44. Honestly my favorite book I read this year was Anne of Green Gables. And actually I had read it before, when I was a kid. I didn’t read much this year and I want to really try and read more next year.

  45. If you decide to stop blogging, I’ll certainly miss you but will understand. I like both your book review posts and “What I Wore This Week.”

    My favorite book this year was probably Louise Penny’s _How the Light Gets In_. This is the culmination of Penny’s crime series about Inspector Gamache, a Quebecois detective, and corruption in the department where he works. Well, that’s the nominal plot, but this is really a wonderful book about redemption, forgiveness, the resilience of human nature, and love. It’s such a wonderful book. But if you haven’t read Penny before, you should really start from the beginning with _Still Life_.

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