Hello Readers,

Two items of note: I wanted to try to post once a month this year… and obviously that didn’t happen. Maybe we’ll see a change in the new year? (Quite possibly. But I wouldn’t hold my breath.). Secondly, we have some books that fit into some of the Reading Bingo categories. That being said, I leave you to gander the titles below… and as always, spoilers may very well be present:

1-17-14: Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters, Jessica Valenti, 5/5, “The worst thing you can call a girl is a girl. The worst thing you can call a guy is a girl. Being a woman is the ultimate insult.” (6)

→ Reading Bingo: A Funny Book. I am in awe of Jessica Valenti… she is amazing. I really, really love that she seems to write how she speaks… “potty-mouth” and all. I put this particular book in this category not because I think feminism is funny, but because I think that people who don’t take feminism seriously are funny. As a woman, I think that feminism affects everyone… just as a lack of feminism would. Society teaches us to immediately respect men… well, feminism has taught me that we need to respect each other and stand up for fellow women. After all, we are stronger united than we are divided.

1-17-14: The True Story of Hansel and Gretel: A Novel of War and Survival, Louise Murphy, 4/5, “There is much to love, and that love is what we are left with. When the bombs stop dropping, and the camps fall back to the earth and decay, and we are done killing each other, that is what we must hold. We can never let the world take our memories of love away, and if there are no memories, we must invent love all over again.” (297)

→ Reading Bingo: A Book Set on a Different Continent. This story takes place in WWII Europe. I remember the tale I heard as a young girl… the one about the witch trying to throw two children into a fire place/oven. Well, I much prefer this story to that one. The “witch” still throws them into the oven, but she isn’t trying to eat them. I really enjoyed the way that Murphy spun her tale… and I, probably for the first time, really liked how the author didn’t give endings for all of the characters. It gave me… hope for them. The flow was slow in the beginning and it sped up slightly… but after reading it, I found purpose in the general flow and, ultimately, am very happy with it. Overall, I’m really glad I finally read this.

2-27-14: The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness, Simon Wiesenthal, 5/5, “You, who have just read this sad and tragic episode in my life, can mentally change places with me and ask yourself the crucial question, ‘What would I have done?'” (98)

→ Reading Bingo: A Book of Nonfiction. This book was perhaps one of the best books I’ve ever read. The Sunflower did take me a bit of time to read, but the time taken was so worth it. It made me think and it challenged my views. And truthfully speaking, under what circumstances is it appropriate to forgive someone? When do you have the right? The title says everything. Ultimately, forgiveness is a concept individually understood and recognized. This is a great book for discussion in college courses–as well as with friends and family.

2-28-14: Disquiet, Julia Leigh, 3/5, “All things can be refused.” (121)

→ Reading Bingo: A Book with a Blue Cover. Disquiet was somewhat confusing… perhaps worded a bit oddly… but I think that by the end I got the gist of it. For me, it was horribly depressing. A mother weeping and grasping onto her stillborn child is such a horrifying image… let alone a reality. The idea is difficult for me to… digest at best. The characters were all incredibly complex–I feel the expectation to read between the lines and analyze every detail is established at the first word. Disquiet probably deserved a closer read, if not a second one.

3-7-14: Whiskey Beach, Nora Roberts, 4/5, “‘I begged her not to take my husband, not to take the father of my children, and she told me to grow up.'” (478)

→ This is one of those books where I’m just walking around the library looking for something to “spontaneously” read. Nora Roberts was one of the first authors that could really hold my attention when I was first starting to read larger books. This is probably one of my favorite books by this  author… she just seems to get better as she keeps writing. The characters were great–I loved the main character’s grandmother, she’s such a spitfire–and the antagonists… well, part of me saw it coming, but then I was like, Nahh… and then the truth came out. Well, snap! I would probably buy this particular book to add to my mother’s Nora Roberts collection–it was very, very good!

3-11-14: The Testament of Mary, Colm Tóibín, 5/5, “‘I was there.’ I said. ‘I fled before it was over but if you want witnesses then I am one and I can tell you now, when you say that he redeemed the world, I will say it was not worth it. It was not worth it.'” (80)

→ Wow, wow, wow! I closed this book after reading it and felt horribly confused. While this is a work of fiction, it really had me thinking about what happened during the time that Jesus was alive. I wonder about his mother, Mary, and how she truly felt about what her son was doing. I guess your, “Oh my!!” factor will vary depending on your religious/spiritual beliefs… but I just feel very confused in regard to what actually happened at that time compared to what we think happened, and how it shapes our beliefs right now. I feel awkward about how the author’s storytelling affected me. Read this with an open mind…

3-19-14: Juliet, Anne Fortier, 5/5, “He was not Paris, he was not Salimbeni, he was not even Nino. He had always been Romeo.” (295)

→ Reading Bingo: A Book with a One-Word Title. Finishing this novel has been 4 years in the making. I started reading it back in 2010… but I couldn’t get into it, so I returned Juliet to the book cases of the library. So, around the same time of year–4 years later–I decided to give it another go. I am so damn pleased I started reading it again and gave it the chance it deserves! Such amazing plot twists and character development. I’ve discovered I enjoy books that combine the “past” and the “present.” I was so sad to finish Juliet because that meant the story was over–at least until I read it again.

4-23-14: Rustication, Charles Palliser, 3/5, “That threat was executed in full.” (2)

→ Reading Bingo: A Book that Scares You. Rustication didn’t scare me so much as disturb me… so for me, it pretty much amounts to the same thing. The language was horribly vulgar–and the characters were dreadful people. Couldn’t believe I finished it. I was HAPPY to finish it. Rustication wasn’t a HORRIBLE read… I guess we can’t always have the traditional protagonists. The main characters irritated me more than any protagonist ever has.

5-3-14: The Pleasures of Men, Kate Williams, 3/5, “Even Marie-Claire France–who is always demanding why I have no fiancé–amuses me. In all of them, there is a turning to the light, a kind of expansion that I think will be torn down by the world, sooner or later.” (341)

→ Reading Bingo: A Book You Heard About Online. The Pleasures of Men was a pretty good read. At times I felt slightly confused and being confused gets boring fast. I continued to read because I enjoyed the portions that didn’t make me scratch my head. The main character is likeable. I can’t say the same for the rest of them… but that was probably the point.

5-10-14: City of Bones, Cassandra Clare, 4/5, “‘If you wanted me to rip my clothes off, you should have just asked.’ He dug into his pocket and brought out his stele. ‘It would have been a lot less painful.'” (187)

→ Reading Bingo: A Book that Became a Movie. Fan girl squeal: Eeeeeeee! Just sayin’. Seriously, I enjoyed the book so much! I read it after I watched the movie–and definitely prefer the book. Of course, the book doesn’t include Jamie Campbell-Bower… but that’s besides the point. Original ideas and story. Awesome!

6-9-14: The Giver, Lois Lowry, 4/5, “The Giver shook his head. ‘No, flesh isn’t red. But it has red tones in it. There was a time, actually–you’ll see this in the memories later–when flesh was many different colors. That was before we went to Sameness. Today flesh is all the same, and what you saw was the red tones.'” (94)

→ Reading Bingo: A Book Your Friend Loves. In all actuality, most of my friends LOVE this book. They’ve been raving about it for years… I just had little to no interest at the time. I’m grateful, however, that I got to read it now because I’m sure I appreciated it more now than I would have then. The entire concept of  Sameness is something I might have liked when I was younger… but where is the free will and individuality in that? There’s not. Beautifully written and thought out.

6-15-14: Night Broken, Patricia Briggs, 4/5, “The tears on her face weren’t crocodile tears, they were the real, unattractive thing complete with runny nose. She still was beautiful. ‘I’m glad I left, for your sake. You found someone who can stand beside you. I couldn’t live with what you are, but that’s my problem, not yours.’ She looked down, then straight into his eyes. ‘I love you.'” (309)

→ Reading Bingo: A Book Published in 2014. Ms. Briggs, you are BRILLIANT. When will the series end? I hope NEVER. Mercy Thompson is an amazing character and so well developed. She’s not a perfect character, but she’s definitely the perfect role model. It was bizarre to meet Hauptmann’s ex… she’s something, ain’t she? Anyway, definitely a good read.

6-17-14: Divergent, Veronica Roth, 5/5, “I suppose that now, I must become more than either.” (525)

→ Reading Bingo: A Book Written by Someone Under the Age of 30. I read the Large Print version if any of you are wondering what the difference in page numbers is all about. That being said, I could not put this book down. I’d wake up in the middle of the night and have to read it because I was dreaming about it. Quite honestly, I’d been trying to avoid reading it because it seemed that nearly everyone was reading it. If I think about it, that is probably true. The concept and follow through is phenomenal. I would definitely read Divergent again. I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

6-21-14: The Bloodletter’s Daughter, Linda Lafferty, 4/5, “It was Doctor Mingonius who led the muttering Don Julius away from the gore. He had gazed around the blood-splattered room in horror, to Don Julius crouched in the corner, fondling a scrap of matted hair.” (466)

→ Reading Bingo: Free Square. The last half of the book… WOAH, I sped through it. I couldn’t put the book down. I understand that at that point in history, and many other times, Don Julius’ behavior might have been seen as mildly tolerable… but this was so difficult to read. I enjoyed the ending–a nice little twist–but anything between the first half and the final pages disturbed the hell out of me. Historical fiction is a favored genre of mine because I love history… but I’d never heard of the Don Julius scandal until I saw the cover and read the synopsis. I wasn’t a huge fan of the slow start, but once the story picked up speed, it had my attention. And my ire.

6-30-14: The Nazi Officer’s Wife: How One Jewish Woman Survived the Holocaust, Edith Hahn Beer, 5/5, “With this kind of competence at the top, it is no wonder that the French workers and the German communists had so much success with their secret radio.” (243)

→ Beer’s story is… it leaves me speechless. What do you… what can you say to a woman… to anyone who lived through the Holocaust? Despite everything, she survived with her daughter and was able to make a new life for them. I  will probably add this book to my bookshelf at home. If I become a teacher, I’d love to have my students read Beer’s story. Very good example of nonfiction.

7-14-14: The Cloud Roads, Martha Wells, 4/5, “He said, ‘I’m Raksura. So are you.'” (21)

→ Reading Bingo: A Book with Non-human Characters. I am by no means a fan of books which involve non-humans as the main characters. OR SO I THOUGHT. Wells doesn’t mess around with whether or not humans and other beings will get along. There’s good and bad in every species. I haven’t gotten to the sequels to this particular book, but I’m sure I will eventually. Even if you don’t usually lean toward this genre, give this book a shot. You might be surprised.

7-16-14: 1st to Die, James Patterson, 4/5, “Now she was loving it, as she always did. It wasn’t bad–it was good. They all ended up wanting and loving it. He always picked them so well.” (270)

→ Reading Bingo: A Book with a Number in the Title. James Patterson, where have you been all my life?! Definitely a favorite author. His antagonists are something sick and twisted. I love it. I love that his main characters are women that are in male-dominate professions–and they are known for being some of the best. Way to go! Whoop!

7-18-14: Room, Emma Donoghue, 5/5, “I look back one more time. It’s like a crater, a hole where something happened. Then we go out the door.” (321)

→ Reading Bingo: A Book on the Bottom of the To-Be Read Pile. Literally, on the bottom of the pile. It was a Christmas gift from a few years ago and I wasn’t grabbed until the middle of the book when the situation fully hit me. I knew something was strange, I just couldn’t figure out what exactly. Such an amazing read. So worth it.

7-26-14: When the Bough Breaks (Alex Delaware #1), Jonathan Kellerman, 4/5, “The psychopath is to the psychologist and the psychiatrist what the terminal cancer patient is to the physician: walking, breathing evidence of hopelessness and failure.” (106)

→ Reading Bingo: A Book with a Mystery. I found my first Kellerman book back in 2004. After that, I read a couple more books. Pretty damn good. THIS book… oh my… I might have thought to throw it across the room towards the end. Another author that writes really nasty, icky, bad guys. SO MESSED UP. Delaware is an awesome but flawed individual; so got to respect that. Do read this if you like mysteries.

7-28-14: Irish Hearts: Irish Thoroughbred, Nora Roberts, 3/5, “‘The twins went wild when I told them that Dee was now their aunt. They claim that makes them Irish and soon they’ll be fey, too.'” (135)

→ Reading Bingo: First Book by Your Favorite Author. Nora Roberts is always going to hold a special place in my heart. Irish Thoroughbred was really good–you could tell it was her first novel–but damn entertaining. Characters were generally likeable and the challenges brought on by the antagonists was pretty good too.

7-28-14: Irish Hearts: Irish Rose, Nora Roberts, 3/5, “‘I recognize a restless soul when I see one… You’re straining at the bit to get out of this little smudge on the map. Though if you ask me, it has its charm.'” (190)

→ Read two books in a single day: SCORE! I figured I have it, might as well read it. Sequel to Irish Thoroughbred, not bad at all. The heroine in this story was feisty–I love when they are mouthy. Seemingly like most of the women in my family, haha. The love interest was a pretty intense individual. Oh well… still seemed to end fairly well.

7-30-14: Sun Storm (Rebecka Martinsson), Asa Larsson, 4/5, “But I feel a sense of peace when I’m working. Happiness, almost. It’s when I’m not working I feel uneasy.” (4)

→ Reading Bingo: A Book that is More Than Ten Years Old. So, I’m not entirely sure that this is more than ten years old, but a couple places said it was, so that’s what I’m going with. What is it about the Swedes? Their books involve a lot of messed-upedness and religion. Fancy that… those two things related?! Pretty good read… some things bothered me quite a bit, but that’s how it goes when you’re reading. Things are supposed to delight you and bother you. This was definitely one of those books.

8-1-14: 2nd Chance, James Patterson, 4/5, “‘I was wrong… What I said when they were wheeling me into the OR. The bastards don’t win We do. We just have to wait to the end of the game.'” (387)

→ Reading Bingo: Second Book in a Series. Hey heyy! We’re back. I adore these characters so much. They are so relatable. I’m starting to see a pattern with these books though… kinda worried about that. We shall see by book #4 if it continues. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this story!

8-8-14: The Collector, Nora Roberts, 4/5, “‘It’s underwear. It’s red underwear. I didn’t even know you, what, just over a week ago, and now you’ve bought me red underwear. Did you even look at the price tags?'” (115)

→ This scene made me laugh so hard–people thought I was crazy! So damn funny. The protagonists are creative individuals… oh, and being a house sitter as a profession? Sign me up. That sounds like so much fun. Kinda like living in hotels for free… although I’m not sure how long that would remain fun. Definitely an entertaining read.

8-14-14: Sharp Objects, Gillian Flynn, 5/5, “A child weaned on poison considers harm a comfort.” (251)

→ Reading Bingo: A Best-Selling Book. Oh, Gillian Flynn, your novels and their characters are sick. I love it so very much. Let’s be honest here… you’re writing characters that are closer to the truth of humans than most other writers out there. Terribly flawed individuals–but they have this deeply redeeming quality that is so beautiful and intoxicating. The plot progression and character development was awesome… I enjoyed reading this, I was disturbed and haunted. It was Wonderful. I can’t wait to buy this book.

8-16-14: The Color Master: Stories, Aimee Bender, 5/5, “He could feel it, just feel it, the glimmer of something that he did not understand. He would never call it God. He would not call it prayer.” (149)

→ Reading Bingo: A Book of Short  Stories. Quote is from “The Doctor and the Rabbi.” I found this particular book on a list of books to read before going into a Master’s Program. Since that’s something I’d like to do, I figured this would be good to read. There’s nothing simplistic about Bender’s writing. The complexity of her metaphors is… astounding? She’s a great writer and her work is nothing short of discussion worthy. I can understand why they’d suggest you read her work–but hell, read her work just to read it.

8-20-14: The Mortal Instruments: City of Ashes, Cassandra Clare, 4/5, “Something inside Clary cracked and broke, and words came pouring out. ‘What do you want me to tell you? The truth? The truth is that I love Simon  like I should love you, and I wish he was my brother and you weren’t, but I can’t do anything about that and neither can you! Or do you have some ideas, since you’re so goddamned smart?'” (181)

→ Ouch, ouch, ouch! Such a horrible situation–so not pleased with this! This brother-sister relationship has got to go. I wish I could like Simon and Clary together… but there’s nothing there except for a love and respect that you have with siblings. I’d appreciate a change of direction between Clary, Jace, and Simon. It is taking a great deal of effort to not look up what happens in future books… at least then I’d know what happens. HOWEVER, I will refrain. That being said, onto the next book in the series… and hoping for something good.

8-23-14: The Mortal Instruments: City of Glass, Cassandra Clare, 4/5, “‘There is no pretending,’ Jace said with absolute clarity. ‘I love you, and I will love you until I die, and if there’s a life after that, I’ll love you then.'” (331)

→ AHH YAY! Happy Dance starts NOW! Big reveals coming your way–and I LOVED IT. Although, everything leading up to the reason for said Happy Dance was so stressful. Haha. I know when I’m reading rather quickly because when I finally look up from reading, people are looking at me like I just ran a marathon. Hilarious. I’m really pleased that some of the questions are being answered. I feel like this series is similar to Angelology–Nephilim and such–the connections between history, Heaven, and Hell. Part of me will be happy and sad to finish this series… but I’ve enjoyed it so much thus far that I wouldn’t be surprised if I bought the set when the series ends.

8-26-14: 3rd Degree, James Patterson with Andrew Gross, 3/5, “He took my hand. ‘My name’s Joe, Lindsay. Not Molinari, or Deputy Director, wink, wink. And what I’m talking about is you and me. And not trying to joke it away because you’ve been hurt before. Or because you lost a really close friend. I know this’ll come as a disappointment, Lindsay, but you’re entitled to be happy. You know what I mean. Call me old-fashioned.’ He smiled.” (282)

→ Spoiler time: I’m so pissed that Patterson killed off Jill. And her nasty husband… I hope this was his final appearance in the series… grrrr. I connected so much to Jill… I just… WHY?! At this point in the series, my least favorite installment. Good read overall… but really displeased with Jill’s absence from here on out.

8-30-14: The Help, Kathryn Stockett, 5/5, “It is 1963. The Space Age they’re calling it. A man has circled the earth in a rocketship. They’ve invented a pill so married women don’t have to get pregnant. A can of beer opens with a single finger instead of a can opener. Yet my parents’ house is still as hot as it was in 1899, the year Great-grandfather built it.” (238)

→ Reading Bingo: A Book by a Female Author. The book was amazing. The movie was amazing. Seriously, standing ovation. Definitely want to buy both. The Help pulled at my heart strings and made me think. Up until this point, I’d no idea about the true stories behind book… no clue that this crap was happening. I could go on and on… just a damn good read. You’d be doing yourself a service by reading it.

9-6-14: The Mortal Instruments: City of Fallen Angels, Cassandra Clare, 3/5, “To Simon’s surprise it was Jordan who answered. ‘The past always matters… You can’t forget the things you did in the past, or you’ll never learn from them.'” (295-296)

→ What. The. Hell. WHY?! Really thought about chucking the book across the room… but I thought better of it. Every single time I think they will finally get a happy ending, something happens to Jace. Seriously: What. The. Hell?! Anyways… I’m iffy about Jordan… but I kinda feel he’s going to make extreme efforts to make up for his royal mess-ups from the past. Refreshing. Simon! Stop playing the field–make up your mind because someone gets hurt no matter what you do. This read was so frustrating… and maybe I’m just being impatient, but I feel like a majority of this book was filler. I’m hoping for better from the next book in the series. Here’s to hoping~

9-13-14: The Search, Nora Roberts, 3/5, “‘But I’ve finally lived. In a few short months I’ve lived and experienced more than I did in all the years before…'” (482)

→ I’m kinda sad about this one… it had such a Hamlet ending (big build up to something negligible/nonexistent.) Fiona was an awesome character–and I actually learned some new things (dog training) that I can take with me in the future. Overall, Roberts will always be one of my favorite authors, but The Search doesn’t get to be part of that. 😦

9-24-14: No Beast So Fierce, Edward Bunker, 3/5, “And thinking is a curse.” (283)

→ Reading Bingo: A Book Based on a True Story. I’m pretty sure I was offended throughout the entire book… and I honestly have no idea how I was able to finish it at all. Call it morbid curiosity at its worst. I saw little to no entertainment value and, therefore, looked at it as more educating people on a world that not everyone knows about. Sadly, the characters were believable… and the brutal honesty is why it gets 3/5 versus a 2/5… let’s face it, everyone lives their lives differently… and change is a powerful concept… but REALLY?! Bring on the headache…

9-27-14: The Mortal Instruments: City of Lost Souls, Cassandra Clare, 4/5, “‘You don’t like ‘Hot Stuff’? You think ‘Sweet Cheeks’ might be better? ‘Love Crumpet’? Really, that last one’s stretching it a bit. Though, technically, my family is British–‘” (94)

→ So irritated with how CoFA ended, I hardly wanted to pick this one up. BUT, as is well-known, I have a horrible curiosity. That being said, YAYYY for the ending… at least for Clary and Jace! However, Alec, WTH are you doing? STOP. Just STOP. Magnus is awesome. I hope they get back together… but Alec, figure out your B.S. please. Now… Sebastian… Johnathan… whatever your name is: YOU ARE NASTY. JUST NASTY NASTY. Ms. Clare is definitely pulling all the stops for you being a foul creature. One more book before I reach the end… and I’m sad about it. I could reread these… but there’s nothing like reading it the first time. Perhaps I’ll move onto the other series Ms. Clare’s got going…

10-3-14: Insurgent, Veronica Roth, 4/5, “Just as I have always insisted on his worth, he has always insisted on my strength, insisted that my capacity is greater than I believe. And I know without being told, that’s what love does, when it’s right–it makes you more than you were, more than you thought you could be.” (454)

→ I’m so irritated with myself for waiting so long to read this series. I enjoyed this book so immensely. What can I really say? READ THIS TRILOGY.

10-7-14: Outlander, Diana Gabaldon, 5/5, “‘Because I wanted you.’ He turned from the window to face me. ‘More than I ever wanted anything in my life,’ he added softly.” (596)

→ Reading Bingo: A Book with 500 or more Pages. Well, hot damn. Ms. Gabaldon… you are one solid writer. Not especially a fan of Frank. Go figure. Was not quite pleased until, TADA, Claire falls through time… and TADA, Jamie is introduced. Happy dance for ALLL. Such an entrancing story and the characters are so wonderful… Murtaugh is such consistent guy. Rupert and Angus… OMG. lol. Each character is absolutely fabulous.

10-11-14: Allegiant, Veronica Roth, 4/5, “How have I never seen the schism inside his heart? How have a never realized before that for all the strong, kind parts of him, there are also hurting, broken parts.” (407)

→ No… no… no… NO. NO. NO. Why did you have to kill off Tris?! Damn. Her brother… ugh. So disappointing. I cried and cried during the final pages. Seriously, read this trilogy. You’ll thank me later.

10-21-14: Dark WitchNora Roberts, 3/5, “And now, on the longest day, when the light refused to surrender, she was loved. At last.” (342)

→ Woman leaves America and lands in Ireland. Common setup from Nora Roberts, but as usual, the characters are different, for the most part, every time. I really like the looking back and then into the present. The plot is great. But I feel like something is missing, can’t put my finger on it though. 😦

11-2-14: Shadow Spell, Nora Roberts, 4/5, “She’d chosen a ballad, sang in Irish though he doubted she knew the meaning of all the words. Heartbreaking they were, and as beautiful as the voice that lifted over the clearing, into the night, and across all the dreaming time.” (313)

→ And we have a singer! This was a pretty cute story all around. The main female character was awesome and outspoken, SWEET! Don’t have much to say about this one, I liked it for sure. If you like Nora Roberts, read this.

11-17-14: Dance Upon the Air, Nora Roberts, 4/5, “He caught a blur of movement, a glimpse of the blade hacking down. He twisted, going for his weapon with a cross-body draw. The knife ripped through his shoulder instead of burying itself in his heart.” (365)

→ More Nora Roberts! I had no clue there were so many of her books this year. WOW. Dance Upon the Air is probably more than ten years old. I really liked that her character was breaking the law. NOW HANG ON A SEC; usually her main characters are singularly goody-goody. This woman is running for her life. Go you. I appreciate the discussion of domestic violence. It needs to be talked about. Interestingly enough, her husband ends up in a psych institution and she gets a good man. WHOOP!

11-18-14: Dark Places, Gillian Flynn, 5/5, “I was not a lovable child, and I’d grown into a deeply unlovable adult. Draw a picture of my soul, and it’d be a scribble with fangs.” (1)

→ Have I mentioned this author is sick and twisted… and I love it?! haha. The protagonist… if that’s what I can call her… is such… I don’t even have the words. How somebody can write about such despicable characters and have you feel sorry for them is an art I need to learn. The plot was amazing and the characters… were something entirely out of this realm. Loved the story. This is a definite will buy.

11-25-14: Heaven and EarthNora Roberts, 3/5, “I can’t stop thinking about her. Trying to separate personal feelings from professional judgment is hard enough, but how can I be sure those feelings don’t stem from professional interest?” (185)

→ So… dude’s got a problem. Mixing personal and professional?! Well, don’t break up. That could be awkward. Haha. Pretty good story. Characters had a little bit more fight/resistance than her usual characters do… which is cool. The antagonist is getting annoying though…

11-28-14: 4th of July, James Patterson, 4/5, “Her hand was shaking as she started to write. She cocked her pretty head. ‘I’m going to put it down that I did it for the children. That I did it all for them.'” (383)

→ Mr. Patterson, wow. Another book where children are the subject of sex crimes. Let me not tell you how angry it makes me… because that could take awhile. Det. Lindsay Boxer is at it again, except she got in a pinch of trouble. Started reading this around the time that Michael Brown was shot and killed… this book really makes you about the ethics of being a police officer, and in Boxer’s case, protecting yourself. Definitely a good read… however, that plot pattern is still present. Will continue to read the series because I just like it that much.

11-30-14: Blue Nights, Joan Didion, 5/5, “How could I have missed what was so clearly there to be seen?” (16)

→ If ever there was a writer that I respect immensely for her use of the writing craft, it is Ms. Joan Didion. Blue Nights is so haunting… and beautiful. Really makes you look at what you have and the people that surround you–and appreciate them… hold them a little closer. Powerful, powerful prose. If I’m ever able to write half as well as Didion does, I will be quite pleased.

12-6-14: Face the Fire, Nora Roberts, 2/5, “Even as the water closed over her head, her eyes were open, and the baby’s screams pounded in her ears.” (182)

→ This one seemed really forced for two people who have some deep and profound history. Definitely not one of my favorites… and for that I just don’t have much to say. It wasn’t horrible… but I don’t believe it to be some of her best work.

12-10-14: The Witness, Nora Roberts, 3/5, “Elizabeth Fitch was pronounced dead on arrival at three-sixteen  p.m.” (482)

→ A lot of backstory at the very beginning… and for the first time, it works. I was a tad worried… but it worked out. Haha. I am finding that I read Nora Roberts when I get a bit stressed out. So, I enjoyed this story. Pretty straightforward and not so much dwelling on the details. Great! The two main characters balanced each other nicely. And her security system… her dog AND the technology… can I get that? haha.

12-16-14: The Next Always, Nora Roberts, 3/5, “When she went into the boys’ bedroom she spotted Murphy in a dog’s bed with Yoda, and Ben wiggling under the covers in Harry’s bed. Liam sprawled in his own with the glazed, droopy eyes of the nearly passed out.” (310)

→ Oh, look. NORA ROBERTS. My assessment was pretty accurate the last time. I do tend to read her books when I’m stressed. It’s been fairly stressful. Just had Gallbladder surgery. Not fun. Take care of your body! The Next Always was really good. I like that the ghost doesn’t take up the entire focus, she adds to the story but doesn’t overwhelm. And the stalker dude… no, back it up buddy. Beckett and Claire have my vote.

12-26-14: The Last Boyfriend, Nora Roberts, 4/5, “‘Oh, I think a kid inside one gets a pretty good picture. You didn’t just walk away from your marriage, you walked away from your daughter.'” (221)

→ JUST FOUND OUT THAT INN BOONSBORO IS AN ACTUAL PLACE. I FEEL LIKE I’VE BEEN LIVING UNDER A ROCK. That being said, I craved pizza the entire time I was reading this. So not fair. Now I’ll have to go make some. Oh! So enjoy the fact that Owen is about detail nit-picky as I am. Ugh. I want pizza. Really good read… not a fan of Avery’s mom… but I doubt anyone is.

12-28-14: The Perfect Hope, Nora Roberts, 4/5, “‘Take my word as gospel on this point. You’re the last person I’d want as a shopping buddy. And my ass isn’t going to look fat in any dress. Write that down, etch it in your memory.'” (302)

→ Looks like this may be the final book of the year. I liked this one the best out of this trilogy. Hope and Ryder are great together… a little rough  around the edges at first, but it grows on you. YAY for Lizzy the Ghost! Found her man after all these years… bittersweet… but it looks like she gets her happy ending in the end. Ugh. The scene with Hope’s ex’s wife… oy vey. No slapping. Not cool. Anyway, liked this one a lot. Very good read!

49 books this year! So wanted to read 52, but I’ll take 49. I am super excited to find out if there will be a Reading Challenge for 2015. I completed each challenge, with the exception of the forgotten classic. I hope to see some improvements, on my end, in the coming year. I wish you all a Happy New Year! May you have much luck, love, joy, success…