What Are You Reading Monday, 31 December

It’s the last Monday of the year and time for Book Journey’s fabulous weekly posting “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?”

The holiday brought a good reading week – I hoped to finish up both Amor Towles’ Rules of Civility and The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It by Tilar Mazzeo — and I did. I also started Kurt Anderson’s True Believers because I needed something to read on my Paperwhite in the dark (since The Widow was a paper book, how novel right, haha – sorry I shouldn’t end the year with a bad pun, or any pun really).

My final reading numbers were not as great as I had hoped for the year – it just got away from me. But I am back to the blog and back to more regular reading. For 2013 I hope to finish up at least 50 non-school/thesis books. It’s a tall order, but one I am committed to trying to reach. And I commit to more posts and more commenting on your blogs. I appreciate all the feedback I get from you, and promise to stay more in touch with you all.

Now, what to have as my first start-to-finish read in 2013?

What about you? What are you reading, and what will you start your New Year reading?

 

 

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Review: The Twelve by Justin Cronin

The TwelveVampires are hot fiction characters, I don’t need to tell you that. But if you are hoping for a new Edward and Bella from Justin’s Cronin’s trilogy this is not the series for you. However, if you like your vampires scary and enjoy a well-built and well-written story that spans years – you have found yourself a new series to read.

The Twelve is the second book in a planned trilogy by Cronin that chronicles the spread of a government created vampire virus and the effects over many years of time as the world (well at least the world in the continental U.S.) rebuilds. If you have not read The Passage, I would recommend running out and getting it immediately – not just because you need the background to have the connection with the characters, but because it is a great book.

In The Twelve, Cronin did a good job jumping right in to the story and pulling me in. It may be because I had some ideas of what I was reading (as opposed to when I started The Passage) but I also found a better build-up of action in the first 100 pages – while in The Passage I felt disjointed in the jump of time periods and it took me longer to bond with the new time and characters. Cronin also brought me back up to speed, reminding me of plot points from The Passage, without taking steps back in the story.

So all told, not a light read (in quantity and also in the message) a really great book – and you can bet I am already anxiously awaiting the final book in the series. (A little online looking shows that the book will be titled The City of Mirrors and will be out in 2014.)

 

What Are You Reading — Monday, 24 December

Well, here we are — the last full reading week of 2012. I can’t say that this has been my best reading year for quantity, but I have read some amazing books this year, and some true (but enjoyable) brain rot … yes I am looking at you Mr. Grey. And, it’s Monday, so that means it is time for Book Journey’s fabulous weekly posting “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?”

1594135517.01._SX140_SY224_SCLZZZZZZZ_I did not finish up any books last week, but I did begin Amor Towles’ Rules of Civility, which I am truly enjoying – many nights I found myself reading “just one more chapter” before I fell asleep. The book had me right from opening up at a Walker Evans photo exhibit – period fiction and a photography piece, I am in!

 

 

 

Widow ClicquotI should have Rules done hopefully soon and I have decided to end the year reading what I think will be a very appropriate book to bring me to the New Year – The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It. Seems like a good story to know before toasting the New Year. I borrowed this book a long time ago and it has just been sitting on my shelf, so this is also a good start to one of my (many) resolutions – to get through many of my “To Be Reads” that are anxiously awaiting me to pick them up off my shelves.

How about you? What are you reading this last full reading week of 2012?

P.S. – To those of you who celebrate, I wish you a very Merry Christmas!

It’s That Time of Year

As the end of the year is quickly approaching, we start to see everyone’s list of the best books this year (yes, I will be compiling one too). I love reading the lists – seeing what I need to add to my list, feeling superior when I have read a book or two, but mostly feeling that I really need to up my reading quantity (and up the quality non fiction books I am reading).

The first list I have gone through is The New York Times 10 Best Books of 2012. How did I do? Not so great – I was 1 for 10 in books that I have read (I got Behind the Beautiful Forevers from Library Thing’s ER program) , but there were two other books that were already on my To Get and Read list – so now I guess I have seven more too.

OK, 10% – I guess it could be worse. But regardless of the number, I am going to focus on the joy I get from reading in general, while making lots of reading resolutions for next year.

Do you follow the “Best Of” lists and judge your reading by them or use them as a guide for next year’s reading?

 

Review & Giveaway: A Christmas Home by Greg Kincaid

A Christmas Home

Back in October I got an email asking if I would be interested in reading Greg Kincaid’s latest book A Christmas Home. While this is not typically a book I might pick-up, I have been wanting to expand my reading range, and I am glad I did. The holidays should be about heartwarming things, and this book fit the bill. Not that it didn’t have some tear-jerking parts but it made the, albeit predictable, ending a happy one.

The driving force in this book is the relationship between Todd and Laura. They are the cutest couple as they navigate the road from friendship to more. I am invested in them and want to know more. The other nice part of this book was Christmas and the other dogs in this story. They make the story what it is.

You don’t always need twist endings – sometimes a sweet story is just the thing.

Thanks to Crown and Hogarth/Random House, I have a fresh new book for you to curl up with during this holiday season. To enter, leave a comment with your name and email address, I will use Random.org to determine the winner. You have until Tuesday, December 18 to enter and I will send it out two day shipping so you should hopefully have it before Christmas.

Good luck!

 

*I received this book from Crown and Hogarth for review.*

Review: The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

4d70a8f9cf5b9385977544d6177434d414f4141At 18, orphan Victoria Jones does not know how to communicate with society, except through a Victorian era phenomenon of expressing feelings and sentiments by giving flowers different meanings and using those flowers, to convey the message without having to say anything. This means of communication becomes her lifeline when she finds herself on the streets and applies for a job at a flower shop by making a bouquet.

As the story develops, the reader learns about Victoria’s past that shaped her, and her connection with Elizabeth, who teaches her the language of flowers. The story weaves past and present along Victoria’s bumpy road to adulthood and accepting love into her life.

What could have been an overly sappy, preachy tale was written in a lovely, measured fashion by Diffenbaugh. She exposes all of Victoria’s warts without sugarcoating her and making her too heroic. I appreciated the realism of all of Victoria’s setbacks and found myself simultaneously yelling at her (in my head, I can’t imagine what the people on my commute would have thought of me if I started yelling at my book) and rooting for her.

By the time I finished this book, I was already telling and texting friends about it. I can’t recommend this one highly enough.

— I won this book from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program —