Anne’s House of Dreams by L.M. Montgomery - finished January 4, 2012 - There is nothing like settling down with a book from this series – the comfort of predictable yet truly satisfying story plots and catching up with old favorite characters and delighting in new favorites. These books are a breath of fresh air for me. This is Anne at her best, though we get to see her at her worst, too in this story of Anne and Gilbert’s first years of marriage in their first house. I love that Montgomery fleshes out every character in her stories so that you come to know them all so well.
One for the Money by Janet Evanovich (January Book Club Pick) - finished January 14, 2012 - I just re-read this long-time favorite with my book club and was amazed at how much I enjoyed reading it for a second time. I’d been worried that I would know the plot too well and have a hard time reading it again – or that perhaps it wouldn’t seem as good a second time. But I got sucked into the story and characters all over again and found my recollection of the details of the story just hazy enough to thoroughly enjoy it a second time. – see my book review-
Dear Pen Pal (Mother Daughter Book Club #3) by Heather Vogel Frederick – finished January 22, 2012 - I always enjoy this series – it’s something I would have read and devoured as a tween and love reading now as a mom. This story follows the girls through their 8th grade year as they read Daddy Long Legs by Jean Webster, an author I was unfamiliar with but now I’m anxious to check out (her books are available for free on Kindle!). The girls also get pen pals with some girls in Wyoming who have started a mother-daughter book club also. These books are fun and light hearted, with all the coming of age plot lines you’d expect for a series like this and perhaps some you wouldn’t. I’d strongly recommend the series to anyone.
Anne of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery – finished February 7, 2012 – It’s always nice catching up with Anne and Gilbert. Though I think I preferred Anne’s House of Dreams to this book, I still enjoyed reading about Anne as a mother. I think the big reason I preferred the last book is because it was more of one tangible story where Anne of Ingleside reads more like a series of short stories about each of Anne’s children. The loss of Anne as a constant character was disappointing as fun as each of her kids are. I did enjoy reading about all of their antics and being able to relate to Anne as a mother and wife.
These Is My Words by Nancy E. Turner (February Book Club Pick) – Finished February 22, 2012 – I really loved this book. Though it was a bit slow to get into initially (mainly due to the dialect and the main character’s poor grammar early on), this story really sucked me in. One part Oregon Trail meets the Arizona Territories, one part epic love story that rivals Scarlett and Rhett, one part coming of age story that follows our main character from a young, naive girl of 17 to an experienced mother and housewife approaching her thirties. – see my book review -
And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie – Finished February 28, 2012 – This was my first Agatha Christie story and I really enjoyed it (is enjoyed the right word for a murder mystery?) – Christie is a terrific story teller, I found the book extremely well written, the mystery masterfully unfolded, the inner torment of each of the characters was very well described and the story in itself was fascinating to me. It also wasn’t one of those books where “now I can’t sleep at night” because of being too intense. I read in bed at night before going to sleep and never had a problem, no nightmares. It did a good job of just toeing that line of being suspenseful but not terrifying, for which I was grateful. An intriguing short read, definitely worth checking out.
Pies & Prejudice (Mother Daughter Book Club) by Heather Vogel Frederick - finished March 5, 2012 – I enjoy this series more and more with each book. This story follows the girls through their first year of high school as they read Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen. I loved all the little tid bits about Jane Austen that you learn through the book and how the story sort of parallels Pride & Prejudice in some ways, but not too much. I really enjoyed getting to read more about each of the characters and their little romances and story lines. A great book, and one I’d highly recommend to tween or teen readers.
My New American Life by Francine Prose (March Book Club Pick) – Finished March 16, 2012 – I found this story mildly interesting, somewhat entertaining and easy enough to get through. I read it for my book club and while it wasn’t a “favorite” book, it wasn’t bad either. There were just enough story lines that kept me interested to make it worth reading.
Bossypants by Tina Fey – finished March 27, 2012 – I really enjoyed this book. I had been excited to read it since it came out, but I have to say it even exceeded my expectations. Fey is a terrifically funny writer and she includes stories about so many different aspects of her life from her time writing for SNL to going through puberty or planning her daughter’s Peter Pan birthday party. I got so much out of this book and constantly wanted to quote bits out loud to my husband but after awhile I stopped because I noticed I was practically just reading the book out loud to him and he’s perfectly capable of reading it himself when I’m done!
Seriously… I’m Kidding by Ellen Degeneres - Finished April 8, 2012 - I really enjoyed this – it was very funny. Probably her best book to date.
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann (April Book Club Pick) – Finished April 26, 2012 - There were some things I really liked about this book – the writing itself was beautiful and very well done, but the format of the book, which has a different narrator for each chapter, kept me from loving it. There were parts of the story that I would have loved to have read more about and other parts that I felt were verging on pointless that never connected back to anything – those chapters could have been used to lengthen and develop the major stories. I’m sure this was the author’s intention but that doesn’t mean I have to like it! – full review -
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson - Finished May 8, 2012 - I loved this book even more than I was expecting to (picture me three weeks ago hassling the mail man and my husband about why the book wasn’t here yet already minus the hassling the mail man part because I only did that in my head). This memoir is not only laugh out loud (seriously) hysterical in a way that had me shaking the bed at night while my husband was trying to sleep and occasionally wanting to wake him up on purpose so I could read sections outloud… it was also insightful and touching in all the ways that Jenny’s blog posts often are. If you are a fan of her blog or even if you’re not… read this. But be forewarned, there will be a lot of dead animals. – full review -
Matched by Allie Condie (May Book Club Pick) – finished May 21, 2012 - I’m a fan of a good dystopian YA novel and this book definitely fit the bill. A compelling love story, a fascinating futuristic society that will make you think, a cast of well written characters that all get more interesting as the story progresses. I’m looking forward to reading book two! – full review -
The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman (June Book Club Pick) - finished June 20, 2012 - I really enjoyed this book – more so than I even expected. It was really masterfully written in my opinion, unweaving more of each character’s stories as you read – each character bringing a new dynamic and a new angle to the whole book. I truly just loved it.
Crossed (Matched Book 2) by Ally Condie - finished July 3, 2012 - I don’t know that I enjoyed this quite as much as the first book – the love story started to get a little bit much, very “swoony” – but the overall plot of the story continues to intrigue me and I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in book three.
Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher - Finished July 16, 2012 - I really enjoyed this memoir. Carrie is terrifically funny and I learned a lot about her reading this book. a short, fun read.
Then Came You by Jennifer Weiner – Finished August 8, 2012 - Like most of Jennifer Weiner’s books, this novel managed to tell a lot of different stories about a lot of different things that all tie back to each other in a messy but fantastic package. By having four characters telling their sides to an interlacing story, you really get a full picture of this slightly atypical story of becoming a parent. I also liked that the story felt very realistic even when unexpected things are happening. Her characters were very fleshed out making all of them easy to relate to even if at first you felt like you wouldn’t like them at all. I wasn’t entirely thrilled with the ending, which felt a bit too rushed and then neatly packed back up but on the whole this was a great story and definitely not your typical chick lit novel! – full review -
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – Finished August 25, 2012 – Every now and then a book comes along that is so perfect, it kind of ruins all other books for you once you’ve finished it. I have a feeling this will be one of those books for me. I thoroughly adored this book, lingering over the beautiful writing and falling in love with the story. I didn’t want it to end. – full review -
Fool by Christopher Moore - Finished September 7, 2012 - This was definitely not my favorite of Moore’s books though I did end up enjoying it. It took me awhile to get into the plot and look beyond the incredibly vulgar first few chapters, but the story itself is a good one and Moore’s writing style is funny and fun to read. I’d still recommend Lamb first and foremost to anyone wanting to read a Christopher Moore book.
Radioactive: A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss – Finished September 12, 2012 – While I enjoyed reading about the life and work of Marie & Pierre Curie, I have to say, I would have preferred a more traditional narrative that delved into further detail. I found a lot of areas of their lives I would have loved to know more about that weren’t able to be fleshed out. That said, the format of the book was interesting and easy to read and some of the illustrations and photographs were interesting – and I was able to finish it easily in 3 nights.
Momma Zen by Karen Maezen Miller - Finished September 24, 2012 - This was one of those books that I read at just the right time. While I didn’t always agree with the author’s views, I did see myself in a lot of her stories – I think most parents will see themselves in a lot of their stories. And anyone who has ever struggled to live in the moment, relax and just be – this is a book for you.
Divergent by Veronica Roth - Finished October 7, 2012 - I really liked this story – the plot and the dystopian setting were fascinating and the main character was very likable even in her most naive moments. While her love story occasionally irritated me, the main storyline of the book kept me reading on late into the night until I’d finished it. Looking forward to book two! – full review -
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman – Finished October 11, 2012 – I have to say, I did not enjoy this book as much as I’d been hoping – perhaps because I’ve seen the movie version so many times. Perhaps because I was expecting it to be as amazing a read as Hoffman’s The Dovekeepers. Either way, I did feel a little disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, the book is not bad by any means, it’s just not amazing. The book while essentially similar to the movie, had a lot of major differences which I know is common but what is less common is that I found myself preferring the movie version which seemed much more cohesive and well thought out, the characters more likable and the story a bit more exciting.
The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir by Kao Kalia Yang (October Book Club Pick) – Finished October 23, 2012 – I really loved this book – I knew next to nothing about the Hmong people and their struggles and found this book to be an excellent way of learning about them. Yang’s writing is vibrant and compelling, her story and the story of her ancestors was fascinating. There were a few moments in this book that just struck me as odd, but on the whole I really enjoyed it. Yet another example of a book I might never have read if not for my book club, that I’m really really glad I got the chance to read.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams - finished October 28, 2012 - I definitely liked the book, but I’m not sure I loved it as much as I was expecting to – I had a hard time settling into the story if that makes any sense. Maybe because of the constant changing of topic and the many, many made up words. Which I understand the reason for, I just personally struggled with it. I definitely plan to keep reading the series though and I definitely found it really funny.
How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran – Finished November 6, 2012 - This book had a lot of Laugh of Loud moments and a truly insightful look into the world of women, feminism and life. There were also a lot of uncomfortable, pervy, crass moments. Caitlin Moran tells it like it is and has nothing to hide – so brace yourself. But on the whole, I did really enjoy this book and would recommend it with caution to anyone who is or will be a woman.
The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner (November Book Club Pick) - Finished November 27, 2012 – I really enjoyed both the concept of this book and the author’s writing style and humor. It was fascinating to read about the way of life in so many different countries – and what makes the people there happy or unhappy, what makes these places tick. And despite being a self professed “grump”, I found the author terrifically funny and his writing easy to enjoy. – full review -
The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman – Finished December 6, 2012 – This was a much darker story than I anticipated reading, but it was beautifully written and quite moving. I did feel that the ending left much to be desired – this was not, at any point, a “feel good” kinda story but it has definitely left a lasting impression on me. – full review -
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen – Finished December 14, 2012 – This was such a different Austen experience from previous books of hers that I’ve read. It was fun to read her poking fun at essentially her own usual genre in this very satirical and light hearted novel – and I definitely found myself rooting for the heroine, despite her major naiveté. My only complaint with the book is that all of the major obstacles in the book were resolved almost as soon as they were brought up – everything tied neatly with a bow. I’m sure that this was her intention, being a light satire and not her usual literary endeavor, but I much prefer her “usual literary endeavor” – this was a fun, light read and I enjoyed it, but by no means adored it as I have her other works.
Home For the Holidays (Mother Daughter Book Club #5) by Heather Vogel Frederick – Finished December 18, 2012 – This was a nice easy winter read, perfect to be read around the holidays. The girls in the Mother Daughter Book Club read the Betsy Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace, which of course I am now dying to read myself. There is a LOT of boy drama and best friend fighting but it all gets worked out in the end with plenty of interesting things on the horizon bringing us into the next book in the series. I cannot recommend this series highly enough for tween or even teen girls. So refreshing and I love how the author ties the books they are reading into the plot of the story.
The Teashop Girls by Laura Schaefer – Finished December 24, 2012 – This was a cute story – I thought it had good role models and would be great for young tween readers. I also loved all the references to Madison, WI. Any Wisconsinites will love reading about a story that takes place there with lots of references to places that a Madison dweller would recognize.
The Poisoner’s Handbook by Deborah Blum – July book club pick – While I found this book to be well written and interesting, the subject matter was a little much for me. When I didn’t finish it in time for the meeting and then heard lots of spoilers at said meeting, I lost interest and decided to read something lighter instead.