Monthly Archives:: December 2011

Dec 30


Reviews 0 ★★★★★

DeliriumDelirium by Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #1
Published by Harper Collins Childrens on February 1, 2011
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Pages: 441
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Also in this series: Pandemonium, Requiem
Add to: Goodreads
Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

What I Thought…

Amazing!  There were so many great things to like about this book.  I loved all the major characters; Lena, Alex, Hana and Gracie.  I also loved the writing.  Lauren Oliver is a fantastic writer.  A lot of YA books tend to be written “down” or less complex than adult books (i.e. Twilight) and I didn’t get that feeling from her writing.  As I was reading I was pretty certain that I figured out the “solution” to Alex and Lena’s problem.  I was so sure of it that I would have bet money on it.  It was a pleasant surprise to find out I was wrong.  Who wants to read predictable books all the time?

I typically don’t care for cliffhanger endings, but since this book was so good and the next book comes out in February I can handle it.


Dec 29

2011 Year End Book Stats

Misc 0

A short summary of my year in reading.  Accuracy is poor because I was not diligent about keeping track of what I’ve read.
Types of books
Hardcover/Paperback – 16
eBooks – 17
Audiobooks – 1

In pages
Pages read – 12,668
Average pages per book – 396
Longest book read this year – Under the Dome by Stephen King – 1072 pages
Shortest book read this year – The Second Short Life of Bree Tanner by Stephanie Meyer – 178 pages

In publishing
Earliest published book – A Christmas Carol – December 1843
Latest published book – Crossed by Ally Condie – November 2011
Books published in 2011 and read in 2011 – 4


Dec 29

2011 Year in Review

Year in Review 0

2011 was a year of many firsts for me.  Some were good and some were bad, but you gotta take the bad with the good right?  Thankfully the bad stuff was minimal and the good stuff was plenty.

According to Goodreads I’ve only read 34 books this year.  I know this number is way off because up until November I was awful at keeping track of what I’ve read.  Which is a shame, because I know I read a lot of good books earlier this year, but I can’t remember what they were.  My goal for 2012 is to keep track of all the books I read.  I’ve been real good in December so I’m hoping that I can keep up in the new year.  (All books read are according to Goodreads stats.)

Books read – 2
Best book – Nefertiti by Michelle Moran.  I fell in love with this story and the egyptians. 
Books read  – 0!!!
Became a regular book club member to a local book club.  I joined in 2010 but only went once.
Books read – 2
Best book – The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  An excellent book that I would recommend to anyone.
Book club book – The Book Thief by markus Zusak
I bought a house!!  My mom came down to help me paint.  We were only going to paint a few rooms, but we ended up painting the whole house.
Books read – 3
Best book – The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stien.  This book had so many ups and downs you really felt for the characters.  I loved that it was told from the dog’s point of view.  It made the book a unique read.
Book club book – A Killer Plot by Ellery Adams
At the age of 29 I finally learned how to use a lawnmower.
Books read – 4
Best book – Dead Reckoning – Charlaine Harris.  I love the Sookie Stackhouse series, except for Bill.  I am not a Bill fan.
Book club book – A Slaying in the Suburbs: The Tara Grant Murder by Steve Miller
Books read – 5
Best book – Harry Potter and the Deathly HallowsA re-read after I saw the movie, but still one of the best books ever.
Book club book – Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
My first houseguets and trip to Monticello.  My parents came for a visit and we went to see Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s house.  The house was amazing, but the library was the best.  They had rebuilt his collection with either the copy he owned or a copy of the same edition.  Unfortunately the books were kept in a glass case so you couldn’t touch them, but what a sight to see. 
Books read – 3
Best book – The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  Hilarious and touching. 
Book club book – The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran
My first earthquake.  I have always been a little bit scared of earthquakes.  There the only natural disaster you can’t predict and one of the reasons why I would never live on the west coast, so to expierence one in Virginia scared the carp out of me.  I live about 40 miles from the epicenter so my whole house was shaking.  I hope this never happens again.
My first hurricane.  I was really excited to experience this, I’ve been patiently waiting for my first hurricane for 4 years.  I got lucky that I didn’t lose any power at my house, however it took 12 hours of total labor to clean up my yard.  I had branches in my yard that were so big I couldn’t move them.  There were 4 lives lost in Virginia and 1.2 million without power.
Books read – 0!!
Book club book – The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley  (I did not read this book)
Started a new job.  I work in the office now so I have a set m-f schedule, and I no longer have to deal with crazy customers. 
Books read – 1
Best book – Fingersmith by Sarah Waters.  OMG!!  I highly recommend this book.  It had the biggest WTF? moment in any book I’ve ever read.  Seriously, everyone in book club was blindsided!
Book club book – Fingersmith by Sarah Waters
Started my blog and participated in my first readathon.
Books read – 4
Best book – Under the Dome by Stephen King.  This is my first King book and it was great.  I didn’t really find it horrifying like I thought it would be, but it was mysterious. 
Book club book – Relic (review here) by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

My neighbor’s yard on the left. 
My drive way on the right. 
My neighbor’s leaves also on the right.

I had my first neighbor situation.  I do not appreciate having to rake extra leaves… but all has been resloved and we are back to being happy neighbors.
Books read – 4.5 (did not finish Zone One)
Best book – Rise to Rebellion (review here) by Jeff Shaara.  I’ve always loved the Revolutionary War.  I listened to the audio book, which was great, except I couldn’t find an unabridged version.
Book club book – Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquival
First time home for Christmas in 4 years.  And as a bonus there was no snow!
Books read – 9
Best book – Delirium by Lauren Oliver.  Why had I not read this book before?
Book club book – A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

2011 was a great year for me.  Here’s hoping that 2012 is even better!


Dec 22

To Wisconsin I Go

Misc 0

Yes, that is a cow with a Santa hat.  Something you would only see in Wisconsin.

I am really excited about going home for Christmas.  While I don’t regret moving to VIrginia, it’s hard being away from my family.  This will be our first Christmas together in 4 years.  Unfortunately, it’s a short trip, but since I’m flying there will be plenty of time for reading.  I had my reading list all planned out, but found myself with some extra time so I started it early.  But it’s ok because I got Stephen King’s 11/22/63 book as a gift (thankfully an ebook) so that more than makes up for the books I read early. 
11/22/63I’ve only ever finished one of King’s other books, Under the Dome.  I started The Tommyknockers once and that didn’t pan out so well.  If I enjoy 11/22/63 as much as I did Under the Dome I will consider trying one of his older books, though probably not The Tommyknockers.

In other good news I’ve been successfully blogging for 2 months.  I know it doesn’t seem like a lot but I feel pretty accomplished that I didn’t stop.  I’m also surprised at how much I am enjoying writing the blog.  Hopefully as time progresses I will get better at writing reviews. 
I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season, and for those that are traveling stay safe.


Dec 17

Matched & Crossed

Reviews 0

Ally Condie
Synopsis by Goodreads
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.
My Rating
I enjoyed this book and it was a pretty fast read.  The Society is essentially perfect.  There is no crime, everyone is healthy, and the Society makes all the decisions.  Due to the glitch on her match card Cassia begins her discovery of what’s behind the Society and you see her start to develop a rebellious nature and begin to question the Society’s decisions.

It was a nice story but it felt like something was missing.  There were so many hints of things that were happening in and outside of the Society, but they were never developed.  The ending (if you can call it an ending) fell short, it kind of just stopped.  I know that this is part of a trilogy but typically each book in a trilogy has it’s own story with a larger story across the three books.  This book felt more like an introduction to me.

In comparison to a book like The Hunger Games this book falls short, but it gives you enough info and enough intrigue to want to continue with the second book.  My hope is that the second book has some more action in it.

Update: Crossed

Crossed (Matched, #2)Crossed
Ally Condie
Synopsis by Goodreads

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky – taken by the Society to his certain death – only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander – who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart – change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever

My Rating

I enjoyed this book a little more than Matched, but not by much.  It still feels very much the same, something is missing.  And, sadly, there was no action in this book either.  I felt like this book had a better plot and character development.  And while it has a cliffhanger ending (as to be expected in a trilogy) it didn’t just stop like the first book.

I liked it well enough to read the final book in the series, but again, I am hoping for more action.


Dec 12

Review * Killing Lincoln by Bill O’Reilly

Reviews 0 ★★★★

Review * Killing Lincoln by Bill O’ReillyKilling Lincoln by Bill O'Reilly, Martin Dugard
Published by Henry Holt on September 27, 2011
Genres: Adult, Historical, Non Fiction
Pages: 315
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Add to: Goodreads
The anchor of The O'Reilly Factor recounts one of the most dramatic stories in American history—how one gunshot changed the country forever. In the spring of 1865, the bloody saga of America's Civil War finally comes to an end after a series of increasingly harrowing battles. President Abraham Lincoln's generous terms for Robert E. Lee's surrender are devised to fulfill Lincoln's dream of healing a divided nation, with the former Confederates allowed to reintegrate into American society. But one man and his band of murderous accomplices, perhaps reaching into the highest ranks of the U.S. government, are not appeased.
In the midst of the patriotic celebrations in Washington D.C., John Wilkes Booth—charismatic ladies' man and impenitent racist—murders Abraham Lincoln at Ford's Theatre. A furious manhunt ensues and Booth immediately becomes the country's most wanted fugitive. Lafayette C. Baker, a smart but shifty New York detective and former Union spy, unravels the string of clues leading to Booth, while federal forces track his accomplices. The thrilling chase ends in a fiery shootout and a series of court-ordered executions—including that of the first woman ever executed by the U.S. government, Mary Surratt. Featuring some of history's most remarkable figures, vivid detail, and page-turning action, Killing Lincoln is history that reads like a thriller.

What I Thought…

I found this book to be utterly fascinating.  Prior to reading this book I didn’t really know that much about the Lincoln assassination.  I knew it was a conspiracy but I didn’t fully understand the scope of what was planned.  I also didn’t know that there were still some unanswered questions about how was involved or how much they were involved.  I liked how the book was written, more like a story, less like a textbook of facts.

The first part of the book details the end of the Civil War.  This was the part of the book I liked the least.  It was very descriptive and necessary to the book, but it didn’t really grab my attention.  It was interesting to read about the last battles now that I am living in Virginia, where they took place.  It definitely put how far the soldiers traveled on foot into perspective.

The middle of the book was dedicated to the assassination of President Lincoln.  This was the best part of the book.  It not only detailed Lincoln’s movements the day he was assassinated but also Booth’s conspiracy.  Booth was a meticulous planner and manipulated many of the other people involved in the conspiracy to do things his way.  It also highlights some of the suspicious actions by people who were never accused of having a part in the assassination.

The last part of the book details the capture of those involved.  Some of them were caught out of sheer stupidity (and alcohol), others were chased, and some stuck around thinking they were ok.  I felt a little sorry for Marry Surratt.  While she was certainly not guilt free, I’m not sure she played a big enough part to be executed.


Dec 09

TGIF at Greads! (1): Book to Movie

Meme, TGIF 0

TGIF is a weekly meme to re-cap the week’s posts & to propose a question for our followers. It is run by Ginger at GReads

Book to Movie: Which book turn movie do you feel did the best adaptation?   What about the worst?

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3)Good Adaptations:

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – JK Rowing
I thought all of the Harry Potter movies were pretty good, but this one was the best.
Romeo and Juliet – William Shakespeare
I know this choice probably isn’t popular but I LOVED the Leonardo DiCaprio/Claire Danes movie.  Normally I don’t like it when movies change a lot of stuff, but this really worked for me.

Average Adaptations:
Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park – Michael Crichton
I saw this movie several years before I read the book.  After reading the book I liked the movie a little less, but at the same time it wasn’t awful.  The book just had soooo much information

Confessions of a Shopaholic (Shopaholic Series #1)

Bad Adaptations:

Confessions of a Shopaholic – Sophie Kinsella
Absolute PowerThey totally ruined one of my favorite books.  They combined books in the series. I never understand why they do this. Books always have more information than the movie, so why are they looking for more?  They completely changed the male lead.  And the list goes on and on…

Absolute Power – David Baldacci
All I have to say about this one is what were they thinking? 


Dec 08

Tis the season… to be really busy

Misc 0

December is one of the toughest months to find free time.  There is so much stuff to do.  Shopping, baking, holiday parties, and of course, work.  Trying to cram everything can be very stressful, but at least all the lights look pretty.

I’m pretty excited for Christmas this year because I am going home (to Wisconsin) to see my parents.  This is the first time I’ll be home for the holidays in 4 years.  Unfortunately it’ll be a short trip (Friday night-Monday night) but it’ll be worth it.  Plus the flying will give me plenty of reading time.  Having an ereader makes flying so much easier.  Instead of hunting down the longest, smallest print, lightest book I can find I can bring an unlimited number of books with me.  I’ve already picked out my reading list.

Delirium (Delirium, #1)Matched (Matched, #1)Crossed (Matched, #2)The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #2)
The ConfessionThe Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1)Thirst No. 2: Phantom, Evil Thirst and Creatures of Forever (Thirst, #2)Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)

It might be a little ambitious, but you can never have too many books!  Especially when you’re flying.  There is nothing more frustrating than having a 5 hour delay in an airport with nothing to read and having to spend $12 on a paperback book you could have bought at Target for $5.


Dec 01


Blogging 0

After a lot of thinking I’ve decided just to keep my challenge list to 2.  I’ve only been blogging for a little over a month so I don’t want to get carried away.  I think it would be much better for me to set a more personal goal for 2012.  I read a lot, but I am awful about keeping track of what I read.  I joined Goodreads last December and I started with a goal of 100 books for the year, and sometime in June or July I changed it to 52 since I hardly put any books down.  According to Goodreads I’ve read only 25 books this year and that couldn’t be further from the truth.

So for 2012 my goal is to keep track of everything that I read.

Even though I haven’t had a lot of time for reading this last month I’ve been pretty good about keeping track so I’m hoping that this will carry over to the new year.

Side note: Up until I started this blog I never really read any blogs.  I read a friend’s blog occasionally, but that’s was it.  Now I read a ton of blogs.  All book related of course!  (And I have also added a ton to my TBR list.)