Well it’s ten minutes to ten here and I’m thinking there is very little chance of me staying up another two hours to see the ball drop(and even if I did, it’s not all that likely that I’d actually watch the ball drop either, if we’re gonna be honest) so I thought I’d take this moment to wish all three of my amazing readers a Very Happy New Year!
I am looking forward to all of the things to come in 2011, all the life changes, all the cute moments, all the milestones in my childrens’ lives yet to come. This year my daughter will turn two, my son will start kindergarten, we’ll hopefully be buying our first house and I’m going to finally lose the rest of the pregnancy weight and get my butt in shape! I think it’s gonna be a year to remember in all the best ways!
To celebrate the end of the year, we had some new little friends (neighbors across the hall, so convenient, I wish we’d met them sooner!) over to watch a movie (Toy Story 3) and eat some yummy snacks. I made peanut butter blossom cookies and our neighbor made a cheesecake – deeeelicious! The kids had a blast just hanging out and we all enjoyed our yummy treats and good company.
I took a picture of each of them holding a number cut out of card stock so I could make that cute collage up there. Pretty clever, I know – and a totally last minute idea which I think makes it even better. I had the good sense to have BB hold the O so she wouldn’t end up holding it backwards or upside down – and I took the pictures individually so I wouldn’t have to coordinate all the kids and pray they were all making cute faces at the same time. I know, Mom Genius Moment to be sure.
Wanna see some extra shots? I know you do!
See you all next year!
Another year has come to a close! This year I managed to read 4 more books than I did in 2009, making a total of 32 books read. I’m hoping to make that number 40 in 2011!
Anyway, here’s the final list of the books I read this year:
- Splendor by Anna Godbersen – Finished January 6, 2010 – Splendor appears to be the last book in the Luxe series and it’s no less addictive than the previous three books. I really enjoyed this series and I’m sad to see it end but I think Godbersen did a really great job tying things up in a way that seemed realistic but also unexpected. – full review -
- Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See – Finished January 22, 2010 – I heard a lot of great reviews of this book, and then got a copy and could never seem to get into it… but then got into it finally and loved it. It was never entirely the book I expected it to be, but it was excellent and kept me hooked once I finally got past the first couple chapters. I definitely want to read Peony in Love now.
- Get Financially Naked by Sharon Kedar and Manisha Thakor – Finished January 29, 2010 – This is a great book for anyone struggling to talk finances with their spouse or loved one – or for anyone new to thinking about their money individually in a serious and organized way. The authors make figuring out your financial standing, goals and obstacles seem easy; tackling one small chunk at a time, you will quickly be able to see the whole picture of your finances and plan accordingly. I found, as I suspected, that my husband and I already have a very open dialogue when it comes to money but any concerns that I had about where we stood and where we were going have been eased. After reading this book I feel like I’ve picked up the reigns of my financial standing instead of letting it happen to me while I sit and wonder how we’re doing. – full review -
- Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater - Finished February 12, 2010 - I’m still coming to terms with the ending of this book – I don’t really know how I felt about it and I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll leave it at that. On the whole I really enjoyed this book – it was a nice book to read on these cold winter days. But it also made me feel kind of old when I frequently found myself rolling my eyes at the seriousness which the main characters viewed their lives and their romance. I can remember being their age and feeling this way, but I also have grown up and look back on those days as pretty silly and naive. I think that made it hard for me to stay in the moment of the story – but I never really had that problem with other books with characters of a similar age, etc. So yes, in the end, I’m just not sure. I liked the book but I also had my reservations about it from start to … finish. – full review -
- The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma by Trenton Lee Stewart – Finished February 27, 2010 – This is one of my new favorite series and the latest book definitely did not disappoint. I’m trying to decide if I think this might be the last in the series or if there will be more – either way I enjoyed it a lot.
- Easy on the Eyes by Jane Porter – Finished March 5, 2010 – I’m a big fan of Jane Porter. Her books are always so addictive, lush with detail and characters that are so three dimensional. This book dealt a lot with inner and outer beauty, self confidence and self love, learning to trust and learning to throw away past notions and embrace the future. It was, in short, really really good.
- Never Tell Our Business To Strangers by Jennifer Mascia – Finished April 2, 2010 – This is the memoir of Jennifer Mascia who tells the story of a childhood on the lam, intricate family secrets and betrayals and the incredible power to love. It’s strangely relatable when you are not expecting it to be – and more powerful than I anticipated. I laughed, I cried… clichéd but it’s true. – full review -
- Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert – Finished April 16, 2010 – This book has sat on my bookshelf for years, waiting for me to read it. I can’t believe it took me so long, looking back – it is incredible. I loved every page, every paragraph. Gilbert is an incredible writer and her story was just as good – I almost can’t believe it’s nonfiction. I look forward to reading her other books. – full review -
- The Spellmans Strike Again by Lisa Lutz – Finished April 25, 2010 – I always love a good Spellman Files book and this one was no exception. Lutz’ series is like nothing I’ve ever read before and it’s quite an indulgence. Couldnotputitdown. Quite possibly her best one yet! – full review -
- Sweet Life by Mia King – finished May 8, 2010 - This was my first Mia King book and I really enjoyed it – a good old fashioned chick lit book that made you laugh, cry, etc. It touches on a lot of topics that I think any mother can relate to and even comes with some yummy recipes! – full review -
- The Lightening Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians: Book One) by Rick Riordan – Finished May 19, 2010 – This series is becoming very popular and I can see why. It combines a lot of very cool themes and ideas, some trendy, some slightly more novel. I think it’s a really cool way to introduce kids to Greek mythology and it touches on a lot of other cool, interesting things, too. Great for kids ; for adults, I would warn that it can feel a little predictable sometimes and in the beginning especially, it might feel really obvious that you are reading a book intended for kids, but it definitely sucked me in at the end and I plan to read Book 2 soon.
- Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat by Michelle May- Finished May 19, 2010 - I really enjoyed this book – it’s not necessarily new information but it’s definitely something I think a lot of people should read and know. This is not a diet book – it will not tell you how much of whatever to necessarily eat or do or not eat or do. It’s about relearning how to eat instinctively and to not feel guilty about your decisions. I’d definitely recommend it. – full review -
- The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan – Finished June 9, 2010 – I really enjoyed this memoir. It describes Kelly’s battle with breast cancer but also talks about that middle place in your life where you are both a child and a parent, and has a lot of stories from her childhood up to present date. Really beautifully written.
- What Your Preschooler Needs to Know by E.D. Hirsch – Finished June 18, 2010 – I really enjoyed reading through this book with my son. He loved the poems and some of the history stories the best.
- The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson, Book 2) by Rick Riordan – Finished June 20, 2010 – I’m really enjoying this series. I still feel like the main character sometimes seem a little, um, stupid or maybe just dense? But I love the story, the occasional comments on environmentalism and the Greek mythology references. A great series so far, overall.
- The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer – Finished June 24, 2010 – I have loved every book by Stephenie Meyer I’ve read and this was no exception. My only complaint was that it was SUCH a short read, but still oh so enjoyable. She really makes you feel for the newborn vamps which seems surprising at first but not so much by the end.
- Eating for Beginners by Melanie Rehak – Finished July 12, 2010 – This book reads like a good friend sharing her experiences and giving all the best information she can in the most accessible way. I love how expertly Rehak combines her parental anecdotes with tales of restaurant and farm life – with some fun recipes and silliness thrown in! It had me laughing on a nightly basis, drooling over delicious descriptions of food, ear marking recipes and quoting passages out loud to my husband constantly! I am not exaggerating when I say it was one of the best books I’ve read this year and maybe ever – I want to share this book with everyone I know! – full review -
- American on Purpose by Craig Ferguson – Finished August 1, 2010 – This is one of the better memoirs I’ve read – I love Craig and his talk show and reading about his life was a lot of fun. Craig’s life reads like something out of fiction – so much has happened to him and he’s really come along way – and his writing style is clever and funny. I really enjoyed this one from beginning to end.
- Peony in Love by Lisa See – Finished August 13, 2010 – There were things I liked about this one and other things I didn’t like. I felt like the plot on a whole was very interesting and unique but sometimes the main character seemed way too slow to pick up on really obvious things. I much prefered See’s previous book, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan but it was still a good book for the most part.
- She’s Gone Country by Jane Porter – Finished August 23, 2010 – This was my third Jane Porter novel and like the previous two I really enjoyed it. Her conversational writing style makes the sometimes heavy subject matter easy to digest – and feels like a friend telling you a story. I love this new genre of “mom lit” – chick lit but so much better. I also really enjoy how the characters from Porters other books end up making appearances in the other books – so none of their stories ever really end – very true to life. – full review -
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows – Finished September 1, 2010 – This definitely goes down in the books as one of my favorites of all time. I am honestly surprised at how much I loved this book. I think everyone should read it. RIGHT NOW. – full review -
- Revelations by Melissa de la Cruz – Finished September 6, 2010 – I know there is no short supply of vampire fiction out there but this one actually has a remarkably original concept. I love all of the biblically historical details of this series, entwined seamlessly with current references and your typical angsty teenagers. The characters occasionally get on my nerves but the overall plot has always been enough to keep me coming back for more.
- The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson, Book 3) by Rick Riordan - Finished September 22, 2010 – I’m liking this series more and more with each book. I blew threw this one quickly and I’m looking forward to the next!
- Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins – Finished October 1, 2010 - I was worried this book somehow wouldn’t meet my expectations but I needn’t have worried. It was perfect. The beginning started out a bit slow but it quickly picked up and sucked me in until the end. – full review -
- The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson: Book Four) by Rick Riordan – Finished October 9, 2010 – I think this was my favorite of the series so far – Percy has grown on me with each book, becoming a bit less dense as he gets older. I’m looking forward to book five.
- The Mother-Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick - Finished October 12, 2010 - Although this was not the best book I’ve ever read, I did really enjoy it. I think for it’s target audience (middle school girls) it was very well written and I loved how chock full of literary references it was. It also has plenty of good moral lessons, but not delivered in a preachy way – like I said, perfect for middle school girls. – full review -
- Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – Finished October 24, 2010 – I can’t believe it took me so long to read this book – it was truly excellent. I think this is one of the best classic coming of age stories, with a little bit of everything. I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading the rest of the series.
- The Sweet Potato Queens Guide to Raising Children for Fun and Profit by Jill Conner Browne – Finished November 2, 2010 – I always enjoy the SPQ books and this was no exception – a laugh a minute to be sure! Although I definitely did not agree with all of Browne’s opinions, she made me laugh (and almost cry a few times!) A great light read and a quick read, too!
- The Shop on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber – Finished November 9, 2010 - Although it did feel a bit predictable and formulaic at times, I enjoyed reading this book and found myself rooting for each of the characters and their desired outcomes. It was a nice light read, despite some rather heavy material. – full review -
- The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry – Finished November 18, 2010 – This book started out for me kinda lukewarm, then gradually I got pretty into it, until by the end I was practically obsessed with it. It really grows on you as you get into the story and start to understand what’s going on and then all of a sudden you realize you NEVER understood what was going on and it blows your mind.
- Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (read on kindle) – Finished December 10, 2010 – I have mixed feelings about this one. I will say that I liked the book better than the movie I saw, because so many more details are given and the relationships feel more natural and realistic but I found the “moral and religious overtones” to be a bit much at times and the descriptions to sometimes go on a bit longer than they needed to (a la Nathaniel Hawthorne). As far as classics go, I much preferred Anne of Green Gables which though also descriptive, managed to do the whole moral lesson thing much better, as in, not beating you over the head with it. I think the heart of this story is excellent, which is why the movies are so good I think, but sometimes reading it felt like a chore.
- First Among Sequels (Thursday Next, Book 5) by Jasper Fforde – Finished December 28, 2010 – I swear each Thursday Next book is better than the last. Really enjoyed this latest installment!
- Little Children by Tom Perrotta – Abandoned February 3, 2010 (about 100 pages in) – This book is being discussed in an upcoming book club I’ve been thinking about joining and I have heard some good reviews about it but I just could not bring myself to care about the characters of this story of suburbia, apparently unhappy marriages, and a blatant dissatisfaction with the life of stay at home parenting. I can understand that these topics are a reality for millions and it’s not that I cannot read a book that I can’t relate to personally – I can and have. And frankly there were things I could relate to but I could not seem to care about any of the characters at all. It was like watching a handful of sad people trapped in boxes they’d knowingly climbed into – and being forced to sit inside those boxes with them. The best part of this book was putting it down and being greeted by my own life, which is kind of the opposite of falling into a good book. I feel like I’m trying to make excuses for not finishing this book, like I’ve done some horrible misdeed but at the end of the day I have to remind myself that I have better things to do with my time than read a book I’m not enjoying, whatever the reasons.
- The Naked Buddha by Adrienne Howley – abandoned May 10, 2010 – There was nothing wrong with this book, in fact I enjoyed what I read, but I kind of felt like I’d gotten out of it what I wanted to and decided to focus my energies on the many other books I had on my shelf instead – like the ones I’m reading for a review and the fiction books that I’m really enjoying.
- Teaching Montessori in the Home by Elizabeth G. Hainstock – abandoned June 7, 2010 – Just got bored of it.
- Cold Rock River by J. L. Miles – abandoned June 28, 2010 – I’d been looking forward to reading this for a local book club I’m planning to join but there is some subject matter in the first couple of chapters that I just couldn’t deal with. I found myself avoiding the book because the topic was just too painful for me. I’m not going into details because I don’t want to “spoil” anything but it was just too heavy for me.
- Girl Sleuth: Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak – abandoned September 17, 2010 – This just simply wasn’t the book I wanted it to be. I loved Eating for Beginners so much but this didn’t have that same fantastic wit that I’d grown to love in EFB and the book was much more about feminism and women’s suffrage than it was about Nancy Drew – not an uninteresting topic, just not what I’d been hoping to read and ultimately it felt more like that stodgy traditional “nonfiction” that I was forced to read in school.
- That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo – abandoned September 17, 2010 – There were parts of this book that I liked a lot. His descriptions of the cape and family vacations there brought back a lot of nostalgia for me and had me googling lake house vacations at 3 a.m. But there were other parts of the book (the parts dealing with divorce and unhappy marriages) that felt a lot like being stuck in a room with two people who are fighting and all the good energy just gets sucked out of the room and even though you like those two people seperately, being forced in the same room with them together makes you want to find the happiest person on earth as fast as possible. And unfortunately there were a lot more of those passages than the nostalgic ones and I just couldn’t finish the thing – too much negative energy.
Books Read in 2008
Books Read in 2009