My summer reading list.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Today Mama Kat asks: 

Book review!  What are you reading this summer?

I've heard that many people read more in the winter, when they can snuggle up by the fire and relax with a good book or whatever, but I always read more in the summer time because, HELLO! TV RERUNS! and also because the summertime tends to lend itself to a more unstructured kind of day where I can occasionally banish my children outside for 15 minutes and read a chapter or two before the inevitable "MAMA! Can we have a popsicle?" or "MAMA! I need a band-aid!" happens.

This summer has been no exception.  I've been in an absolute, complete reawakened love affair with my nook, and I hate to put it down.  I always read, and I'm always in the middle of a book, but what I've been doing lately feels more like a gluttonous, aggressive kind of reading, and I am doing it in spite of the world around me, and at all costs, and at all times.

It's glorious.

So here, in no particular order, are the last 15 books I've devoured.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman - Neil Gaiman is brilliant, and as such, I usually can't understand what the hell is going on half the time when I read his stuff.  I gave up for a while, but this title was intriguing, plus it's pretty short as far as books go - 150 pages or so - so I gave it a try.  It was beautiful.  Even with it's modern(ish) setting, it weaves in magic and memory and mystery in such a way that you can't help but be engaged.  And as for the parts I couldn't really understand?  I decided I didn't care, because it was all so beautifully put together. 

Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld - I planned to really love this book.  It's about twin sisters who share a gift of predicting the future, but it's told more realistically, without a "fantasy" feel.  It ended up being more about relationships, and at times I felt like the author was having a hard time getting the characters right, because they were behaving in ways real people might not have behaved.  Anyway, I felt kind of gipped, because the cool "my sister and I have powers!" story never fully materialized.

The House Girl by Tara Conklin - This book is a story within a story, which I've really been digging lately, and it introduces us to Josephine, a slave girl who can read and write and who paints exquisite pictures, which her mistress then claims credit for.  In the modern setting, Lina is a lawyer who is looking into the history of Josephine for a lawsuit, and she becomes totally absorbed in the story.  Her research runs parallel to some unfinished business she has in her own past, and their stories become intertwined at one point.  I thought it was beautiful and well-written, and I loved Josephine so, so much.

Divergent by Veronica Roth -  My Entertainment Weekly told me to read this book, and I'm glad I did. It's a teen/YA book set in a not too distant alternate future where at age 16, everyone must choose which of the five factions to join. There's Amity (the peaceful),  Candor (the honest),   Dauntless (the brave), Abnegation (the selfless), and Erudite (the intelligent).   Tris, the main character, finds herself drawn to more than one faction, and that's where it gets interesting.  It's no Hunger Games, but it kept me entertained. 

Insurgent by Veronica Roth -  The second book in this trilogy wasn't as great as the first, but there were enough plot twists and dying characters to keep it interesting.  I'm looking forward to the third book coming out this fall. 

The Storyteller by Jodi Piccoult -  I almost didn't read this.  Her last book was boring and disappointing, but this one, I really loved.  Sage Singer is a baker with a scarred face and no friends to speak of.  When she meets Josef, an old German man,  they begin to share their life stories with one another and he tells her he was a Nazi.  Oh, and he asks for her help to die.  I figured out the plot twist about six chapters in, but it didn't matter.  It was a great read.    

Terrified by Kevin O'Brien -  Megan ran away from an abusive husband years ago, and pregnant and alone, started a new life with a new name in a new city.  Fast forward 15 years, and her husband is after her again.  I typically like Kevin O'Brien's books, but I found myself skimming through most of the middle.  Megan wasn't a terribly sympathetic character, and the plot took a few too many weird twists for my tastes.

Second Son by Lee Child -  This novella gives us a glimpse into Jack Reacher's history, and tells us of the first crime he solved - at age 13.  Farfetched? Sure.  A good, quick read? Definitely.

Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots  -  Lorca is a teenaged girl with an indifferent mother, an absent father, and a terrible self image.  She spends her days trying to please her un-pleasable chef mother by cooking dishes that will wow her.  Her quest for a certain recipe takes leads her to a couple people who begin to teach her that family can sometimes be what and who you make it.  Although the final chapter felt rushed and too tidy, the rest of the story was so, so lovely.

Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris  -  I'm almost too heartbroken to even put this on my list.  See, here's the thing.  I LOVE David Sedaris.  LOVE.  I'd put his Me Talk Pretty One Day on my top 10 books of all time list, if I had such a list.  But this one, it just WASN'T.  It wasn't charming.  It wasn't funny.  It wasn't David Sedaris.  I didn't even finish it, and I can barely even talk about it.  So, so sad, I am.  

Frost Burned by Patricia Briggs  -  I'll admit, I love a good werewolf/shapeshifter/fairy/vampire story, and this seventh in the Mercy Thompson series is no exception.  After her husband's werewolf pack is taken hostage, Mercy finds herself enlisting the help of fae, vampire, werewolf and other assorted supernatural creatures.  The book is fast paced and interesting, and Mercy is one of my favorite supernatural heroines, just because she is so darn down to earth. 

Don't Go by Lisa Scottoline  -  So this guy gets deployed to Afghanistan, his wife dies in a freak household accident, he finds out she was a) an alcoholic and b) pregnant with someone else's kid, his unit gets bombed, his daughter rejects him, his sister-in-law tries to get permanent custody of his daughter, his arm gets shot off... and that's just in the first third of the book.  I really couldn't put it down, not because I particularly loved it, I just couldn't help but wonder what was going to happen to this guy next.  

Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris  -  Oh Sookie, how I will miss you! This final chapter in the Sookie Stackhouse series had all the usual bad guys, surprises and humor that you'd expect, and Sookie finally ends up with...  You'll have to read it to find out ;-) 

Zero Day by David Baldacci  -  This book has been hanging out on my nook FOREVER.  I'm not sure why I decided now was the time to read it but it turned out to be a good decision.  John Puller is an Army man from a long line of Army men, and as a member of the Criminal Investigative Devision, he is sent out to investigate the murder of a family on rural West Virginia. The characters are interesting and the plot moves along nicely.  I can see this title appealing to fans of the Jack Reacher series, or even to Tom Clancy fans.  I kind of hated the ending, but not everything can be all neat and tidy, I guess. 

Six Years by Harlan Coben  -  Finally!  Harlan Coben is back!  I rate Tell No One and Gone For Good as two of my favorite mysteries ever, but in my humble opinion, Mr. Coben has been struggling to write anything nearly as good, well, since The Woods, anyway.  But I thoroughly enjoyed Six Years.  It's about a college professor who falls in love, only to be unceremoniously dumped by the woman he believed to be the love of his life.  He stays out of her life for six years... then, well, I'm not going to give too much away, but you should read it to find out for yourself what happens.  

So that's what I've been reading over the summer.  Have you read any of these?  What did you think?  Are you reading anything good right now?  

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  1. :gluttonous, aggressive kind of reading..." YES!! haha That is so me, too. Loved this. Thanks for the suggestions! Found you through Mama Kat. Enjoy your nook. : ))

    1. Thanks! I only get in THAT kind of reading mood a few times a year. The rest of the time I'm just a normal, everyday, avid kind of reader who can occasionally do something else. Occasionally...

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  3. Most of those are totally on my To-Read list. I've read the last C. Harris book, but I'm dying to get to Sisterland, The House Girl, and Apricots.

    I need to catch up on the Lisa Scottoline books, too. I met her at a book fest, and that woman is hilarious IRL.

    Dropping by from Mama K's.

    1. Sometimes when I read an author I think, "We could totally be friends in real life." I think Lisa Scottoline is one of those people. The House Girl and Apricots were fabulous! I hope you enjoy them.

  4. I absolutely loved Divergent and Insurgent. I was about to pre-oder Allegiance when I had a quick "Anna, get a hold of yourself!" talk with myself and decided to just wait til it comes out. Easy does it! I felt like I was too old to read the books, the same way I felt when I started in on The Hunger Games trilogy, BUT, that series, and this one are just so damn entertaining. I couldn't put the books down!

    1. I loved the Hunger Games, too. I started reading the first one on an airplane trip on my way to go on vacation, and I don't think I surfaced out of my hotel room the entire trip because I was busy reading. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I adore Lee Child's books, and I can't wait for the next one to come out this fall. I was looking for some new reading material, and you've given me some ideas here. Thanks!

    1. Lee Child is one of my absolute favorites, but for some reason, every time I try to tell people about him, they're not interested. Yay for a kindred spirit!

  6. Thanks for not giving away the Sookie Stackhouse book. I'm on the waiting list at the library. This summer I enjoyed The Fault in our Stars and A Hundred Summers.

    1. I have The Fault in Our Stars on my to-read list right now. I'll have to move it closer to the top!

  7. Neil Gaiman is usually too smart for me, but I really like this one. Plus, it's short, so I wasn't terrible intimidated. And I'm not sure how I feel about Sookie, either, except to say he was probably my second choice for her. Or maybe third.

  8. I completely agree with your take on DIVERGENT, INSURGENT, DON'T GO and the Sedaris book. You might like THE TESTING since you liked Divergent and Insurgent.

  9. I have finally put Divergent on hold at the library...so many people keep recommending it, even the librarian today said I should read it!


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