American History in Books

Last year I set out to read 52 books.  One book for each week of the year.  I was so proud to accomplish my goal! You can see my list of books here.

But now it is time to reveal my theme for 2013!

American History in Books

At first glance this may sound incredibly boring, especially if you are not a history buff. Hear me out though because I am actually really excited about this challenge which will actually be a two year challenge.

For 2013 I plan to read a non-fiction (or select historical fiction) book about each state EAST of the Mississippi! (I’ll read the west in 2014!)

I have already made several selections so far and am open to suggestions for the ones I have yet to choose.  So without further ado, here is my working book list for 2013.

Maine – Shouting Into the Fog:Growing Up on Maine’s Ragged Edge – Thomas Hanna

Vermont – A View from Vermont – Helen Husher

New Hampshire – Our Little Secret: The True Story of a Teenage Killer and the Silence of a Small New England Town – Kevin Flynn and Rebecca Lavoie

Massachusetts- A Break with Charity: A Story about the Salem Witch Trials – Ann Rinaldi

Connecticut- Hidden History of Connecticut – Wilson Faude

New York – Up in the Old Hotel – Joseph Mitchell

Michigan – Bath Massacre – Arnie Bernstein

Rhode Island
Pennsylvania – Redfield Farm: A Novel of the Underground Railroad- Judith Redline Coopey
New Jersey
Delaware
Maryland
DC
Virginia
North Carolina
South Carolina
Florida
Georgia
Alabama
Mississippi
Tennessee
Kentucky
West Virginia
Ohio
Indiana
Illinois
Wisconsin

A Year in Books

In 2012 I set out to read 52 books. 1 book for each week of the year.  I didn’t have a specific type of book or a specific genre in mind I just wanted to read, read, read.  In 2011, I had read 38 books pretty comfortably so I figured 52 would be a reachable yet still slightly challenging goal.

I met my goal of 52 books on December 14 , 2012.  There were also 4 books I began and gave up on out of sheer boredom or disgust over the atrocious writing and there is one book I am still working through.

So, without further ado, here are the books I read in 2012 in the order completed along with a rating on a scale of 1 to 5 with 5 being the best.  I have given more detailed reviews of many(but not all) of the books on Goodreads.  You can read my reviews by clicking here or by clicking on the individual books listed below. 4 and 5 Star Books are highlighted in pink.

Books Read in 2012

  1. Jan 7 – The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman – 3/5 Stars
  2. Jan 26 – The Rook – Daniel O’Malley – 2/5 Stars
  3. Jan 31 – Planting Dandelions – Kyran Pittmam – 3/5 Stars
  4. Feb 3 – The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins – 5/5 Stars
  5. Feb 5 - Mockingjay – Suzanne Collins – 5/5 Stars
  6. Feb 8 – Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins – 5/5 Stars
  7. Mar 2 – South to Alaska – Nancy Owens Barns – 3/5 Stars
  8. Mar 5 – Unbillable Hours – Ian Graham – 4/5 Stars
  9. Mar 22 – Lost in Shangri-la – Mitchell Zuckoff – 4/5 Stars
  10. Mar 26 – Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close – Jonathan Safra Foer – 1/5 Stars
  11. Mar 30 – The G-Free Diet – Elizabeth Hasselbeck – 4/5 Stars
  12. Apr 6 – When You Went Away – Michael Baron – 3/5 Stars
  13. Apr 8 - Peak – Roland Smith – 4/5 Stars
  14. Apr 14 – The Summer I Dared – Barbara Delinsky – 4/5 Stars
  15. Apr 19 – Moon Over Manifest - Clare Vanderool – 5/5 Stars
  16. Apr 23 – Divergent - Veronica Roth – 4/5 Stars
  17. May 1 – Words Get in the Way – Nan Parson Rossiter – 3/5 Stars
  18. May 2 – Born to Run – Christopher McDougall – 5/5 Stars
  19. May 6 – Insurgent – Veronica Roth – 4/5 Stars
  20. May 11 – Abraham Lincoln:Vampire Hunter  - Seth Grahame-Smith – 3/5 Stars
  21. May 13 – When in Doubt, Add Butter –  Beth Harbison – 3/5 Stars
  22. May 16 – Helpful Hints for Good Living – Mark Twain – 3/5 Stars
  23. May 19 - Blacklisted from the PTA – Lela Davidson – 4/5 Stars
  24. May 20 – On the Island – Tracey Garvis-Graves – 4/5 Stars
  25. May 24 – Life as We Knew It - Susan Beth Pfeffer – 2/5 Stars
  26. May 28 – Saving CeeCee Honeycutt – Beth Hoffman – 3/5 Stars
  27. June 9 – Happyslapped by a Jellyfish – Karl Pilkington – 5/5 Stars
  28. Jun 11 - The Lions of Little Rock – Kristin Levine – 5/5 Stars
  29. Jun 13 – Ratio – Michael Ruhlman – 3/5 Stars
  30. Jun 15 – What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast – Laura Vanderkam – 2/5 Stars
  31. Jun 20 - Barefoot Season – Susan Mallery – 3/5 Stars
  32. Jun 21 – The Bungalow – Sarah Joi – 4/5 Stars
  33. Jun 23 – Turtle in Paradise – Jennifer L. Holm – 3/5 Stars
  34. Jul 2 – Sea Change – Karen White – 4/5 Stars
  35. Jul 14 – The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks – Rebecca Skloot – 3/5 Stars
  36. Aug 5 - Dinner: A Love Story – Jenny Rosenstrach – 3/5 Stars
  37. Sep 15 – Ocean Beach – Wendy Wax – 2/5 Stars
  38. Oct 1 – Paris, My Sweet: A Year in the City of Light – Amy Thomas – 2/5 Stars
  39. Oct 6 – The Light Between Oceans – M.L. Steadman – 4/5 Stars
  40. Oct 17 – Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs – 3/5 Stars
  41. Oct 28 – The Midwife of Hope River – Patricia Harmon – 5/5 Stars
  42. Nov 1 – TMI Mom Bites the Big Apple – Heather Davis – 3/5 Stars
  43. Nov 5 – Ozark Mountain Blue Hole Murder Mystery – Rolland Love – 1/5 Stars
  44. Nov 10 – Between Shades of Gray – Ruta Sepetys – 5/5 Stars
  45. Nov 17 – Thanksgiving: How to Cook it Well – Sam Sifton – 4/5 Stars
  46. Nov 21 – Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir – Jenny Lawson – 3/5 Stars
  47. Nov 22 – Messenger (The Giver #3) - Lois Lowry – 4/5 Stars
  48. Nov 26 – Son (The Giver #4) – Lois Lowry – 5/5 Stars
  49. Nov 29 – Who Peed on My Yoga Mat? – Lela Davidson – 5/5 Stars
  50. Dec 1 – A Plain and Simple Christmas – Amy Clipston – 3/5 Stars
  51. Dec 2 – Naomi’s Gift: An Amish Christmas Story – Amy Clipston – 3/5 Stars
  52. Dec 14 – Midwives – Chris Bohjalian – 4/5 Stars
  53. Dec 23 – The Snow Child – Eowyn Ivey – 3/5 Stars

 

Books I Couldn’t Bear to Finish in 2012

  1. The Summer We Fell Apart – Robin Antalek
  2. Shelter: A Novel – Frances Greenslade
  3. Love Letters – Bryan Mooney
  4. A Patchwork Christmas – Judith McCoy Miller

Books I am Still Working Through in 2012

  1. John Adams – David McCullough

 

2013 Reading Goal

Please check back tomorrow when I will be sharing my reading goal for 2013.  This year I have a theme which I am really excited about!  See you tomorrow!


Are you on Goodreads? If so I’d love to follow you!    Please leave your user information in the comments. You can follow me by clicking here.



Blacklisted from the PTA by Lela Davidson {52 Books in a Year}

My goal is to read 52 books in 2012.  Good or bad, as I read, I will be reviewing the books here.  Be sure to leave a comment and tell me about your favorite books!

This weeks book is really special because it is written by my online friend and fellow Arkansas Women Blogger, Lela Davidson.  Lela blogs at After the Bubbly and will be the featured speaker at the Arkansas Women Bloggers conference(#AWBU) in August!  I am really looking forward to finally meeting her in person! If you are a interested in meeting Lela too, please sign up for #AWBU here!

July marks the one year anniversary of Blacklisted from the PTA. Each day this month, Lela is inviting a new blogger to the birthday celebration on After the Bubbly.  This give you the chance to meet a ton of new bloggers PLUS each featured blogger will be hosting a giveaway of an autographed copy of Blacklisted from the PTA!  Be sure to check out Lela’s blog every day this month!

Blacklisted from the PTA by Lela Davidson

(Book overview from Goodreads.com)

Blacklisted by the PTA is an irreverent look at motherhood and the modern family. From the high chair to a vinyl restaurant booth on date night, Lela Davidson has captured life on the cul-de-sac with a husband, two kids, and the occasional pet. Whether failing at cloth diaper origami or smug in knowledge that her children have never consumed a PopTart, Lela assures parents they are not alone, and that it’s okay to laugh-at yourself, and at your kids. These are the stories of every parent–even if we don’t always tell them out loud. Each of these 62 essays can be read in under five minutes for a quick laugh-either with or at the author.

As a CPA on the mommy track, all Lela wanted to do was sit on the driveway and drink wine out of a box with the neighbors. Luckily, she started writing down her stories instead. Whether tackling PTA meetings, neighborhood politics, or inflation-by-Tooth Fairy, Lela exposes the humor in every awkward moment and maternal meltdown. From a trendy Seattle condo, to a tidy Arkansas subdivision, Lela shares the comic side of family life. She takes you to Mexican bars, the hockey rinks of St. Louis, ski slopes near Santa Fe, shopping in Dallas, and even introduces you to a few strippers–the novices on the playgrounds of New York City, and the pros in Vegas. Lela says what the rest of us are thinking. Her hilarious observations and subtle satire are always spot on. She’s not afraid to reveal her screw-ups, along with fleeting delusional moments of wherein she honestly believes she is the best mom ever.

 

Blacklisted from the PTABlacklisted from the PTA by Lela Davidson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Being that I do not have children, I sometimes hesitate to read books in the “Mommy” genre. I often find that I can not relate to the stories being told but this was not the case with Blacklisted from the PTA.

Lela told her stories in such a way that they didn’t alienate the childless. She doesn’t assume every one agrees with her feelings or has even experienced the things she discusses.

Her humor and wit is outstanding! The book is fast paced and fairly short. I read it rather quickly.

The only real shortcoming of the book was the order of the stories being told. She seems to jump around rather than telling stories in a chronological order. I found this to be slightly confusing.


View all my reviews on Goodreads.com or click the button below to find more on Eggs and Herbs.

The Summer I Dared by Barbara Delinsky {52 Books in a Year}

My goal is to read 52 books in 2012.  Good or bad, as I read, I will be reviewing the books here.  Be sure to leave a comment and tell me about your favorite books!

The Summer I Dared by Barbara Delinsky

(Book overview found on Goodreads.com)

On Big Sawyer island, life is as steady as the routine of the lobstermen who leave with the tide each morning and return with their haul each night. But for forty-year-old New Yorker Julia Bechtel, life and what’s important in it are about to be forever altered when she survives a terrible boat accident en route to the island. Now, in the company of her aunt and daughter, Julia finds herself feeling strangely connected to the tragedy’s other survivors — Noah, a divorced lobsterman, and Kim, a young woman rendered mute since her rescue — and newly outraged at the state of her marriage to a domineering man. Seeing the world with new eyes, Julia vows to embrace life with all of its joys and uncertainties. And the journey begins on Big Sawyer….

 

The Summer I DaredThe Summer I Dared by Barbara Delinsky

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a typical “disgruntled urban trophy wife who journeys to the coast on her own to discover herself” kind of novel. The plot was totally predictable:
1. Women feels unloved, unappreciated, suspects husbands infidelity
2. Women goes on vacation ALONE to rediscover herself
3. Women falls in love with local
4. Women uncovers truth about husbands affair.
5. Women divorces husband.
6. Women marries local and lives happily ever after.
So why 4 stars if it was so predictable? I normally would have given 3 Because it was exactly what I expected with this story. Nothing impressive, nothing surprising. I gave it 4 stars because it was set in Maine and I LOVE Maine. The town and the setting were perfectly described and all the information about Lobstering was well researched and well presented.
If youre looking for a great summer beach read…this is it. If you looking for intellectual fodder…seek elsewhere!

View all my reviews on Goodreads.com or click the button below to find more on Eggs and Herbs.

Lost in Shangri-la by Mitchell Zuckoff {52 Books in a Year}

My goal is to read 52 books in 2012.  Good or bad, as I read, I will be reviewing the books here.  Be sure to leave a comment and tell me about your favorite books!

Lost in Shangri-la  by Mitchell Zuckoff

(Book overview found on Goodreads.com)

“A lost world, man-eating tribesmen, lush and impenetrable jungles, stranded American fliers (one of them “a dame with great gams,” for heaven’s sake), a startling rescue mission. . . . This is a true story made in heaven for a writer as talented as Mitchell Zuckoff. Whew–what an utterly compelling and deeply satisfying read ” –Simon Winchester, author of “Atlantic” “.

Award-winning former “Boston Globe” reporter Mitchell Zuckoff unleashes the exhilarating, untold story of an extraordinary World War II rescue mission, where a plane crash in the South Pacific plunged a trio of U.S. military personnel into a land that time forgot. Fans of Hampton Sides’ “Ghost Soldiers,” Marcus Luttrell’s “Lone Survivor,” and David Grann’s “The Lost City of Z “will be captivated by Zuckoff’s masterfully recounted, all-true story of danger, daring, determination, and discovery in jungle-clad New Guinea during the final days of WWII.

My Thoughts…

Lost in Shangri-laLost in Shangri-la by Mitchell Zuckoff

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If you enjoy books about historical events then you will love this book. This is an amazing and TRUE story written about a plane that goes down with 24 servicemen and WAC’s in 1945 in the mountainous jungle of Dutch New Guinea. Because 1945 technology limits the ability for rescue troops to navigate the high mountain terrain to reach the three survivors. The three survivors are left, injured and hungry, to navigate the terrain, the jungle and the natives in this unexplored territory for nearly seven weeks before they are rescued.

What was so amazing to me about this book was the amount of thorough research that the author Mitchell Zuckoff did in order to write this story so accurately. I also loved how he wove each new character into the story!

I gave the book four stars because while the crash and the rescue were so expertly covered I was really interested to learn more about how life went on for the three survivors and their rescuers after the fact. While there lives were covered briefly in an epilogue I really wanted to know more. The story built very dramatically and they were rescued in a dramatic way and then it was over. I’d like to think there was more to the story than just that. This story doesn’t really end on June 28, 1945.

View all my reviews on Goodreads.com or click the button below to find more on Eggs and Herbs.

Peak by Roland Smith {52 Books in a Year}

My goal is to read 52 books in 2012.  Good or bad, as I read, I will be reviewing the books here.  Be sure to leave a comment and tell me about your favorite books!

Peak by Roland Smith
(Book overview found on Goodreads.com)

After Peak Marcello is arrested for scaling a New York City skyscraper, he’s left with two choices: wither away in Juvenile Detention or go live with his long-lost father, who runs a climbing company in Thailand. But Peak quickly learns that his father’s renewed interest in him has strings attached. Big strings. He wants Peak to be the youngest person to reach the Everest summit–and his motives are selfish at best. Even so, for a climbing addict like Peak, tackling Everest is the challenge of a lifetime. But it’s also one that could cost him his life.         Roland Smith has created an action-packed adventure about friendship, sacrifice, family, and the drive to take on Everest, despite the incredible risk. Peak is a novel readers won’t be able to put down.

PeakPeak by Roland Smith

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love a great adventure story and also have a soft spot for coming-of-age type stories as well. This book was both and did both well.

The story started out really exciting and the opening monologue had a twist I wasn’t expecting that made me curious as to what this book was all about.

Peak heads off to China to discover that he will be climbing Mt. Everest with his estranged father. It is not something he is incapable of doing but it is something that will challenge him to the core and leave him questioning his entire purpose in life.

The story is meant to be told as he is writing in a journal that he is required to keep in order to pass his classes for the year after he is required to leave school. Sometimes the dialog and descriptions take away from the journal feel. Every once in a while you feel like the author suddenly remembers this is supposed to be reading like a journal but then it fades back into a typical story.

There were parts I loved and there were parts that seemed to drag on. Over all it was an interesting and enjoyable book to read. It would be perfect for adventure lovers and teenage boys alike.

View all my reviews on Goodreads.com or click the button below to find more on Eggs and Herbs.

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins {52 Books in a Year}

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins
(Book Overview from Goodreads.com)

Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don’t live to see the morning?

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before-and survival.

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games #2) by Suzanne Collins
(Book Overview from Goodreads.com)

Sparks are igniting, flames are spreading and the Capitol wants revenge.

Against all odds, Katniss has won the Hunger Games. She and fellow District 12 tribute Peeta Mellark are miraculously still alive. Katniss should be relieved, happy even. After all, she has returned to her family and longtime friend, Gale. Yet nothing is the way Katniss wishes it to be. Gale holds her at an icy distance. Peeta has turned his back on her completely. And there are whispers of a rebellion against the Capitol– a rebellion that Katniss and Peeta may have helped create.

Much to her shock, Katniss has fueled an unrest she’s afraid she cannot stop. And what scares her even more is that she’s not entirely convinced she should try. As time draws near for Katniss and Peeta to visit the districts on the Capitol’s cruel Victory Tour, the stakes are higher than ever. If they can’t prove, without a shadow of a doubt, that they are lost in their love for each other, the consequences will be horrifying.

In Catching Fire, the second novel of the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins continues the story of Katniss Everdeen, testing her more than ever before… and surprising readers at every turn.

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games #3) by Suzanne Collins
(Book Overview from Goodreads.com)

Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss’s family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.

It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plains–except Katniss.

The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss’s willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels’ Mockingjay–no matter what the personal cost.

My Thoughts…

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I put off reading The Hunger Games for so long because I wasn’t sure if it would be a book that I would like. I was so afraid they were going to be similar to the Twilight series of books which I liked in the beginning but quickly became seriously disturbed over the message they were sending to teenage girls about love, relationships and family. But I digress.

Back to The Hunger Games. When the trailer for the movie came out I decided it was finally time that I read the books. I have this rule about not seeing movies based on books until I read the book. So in the midst of a mild winter, I curled up with this book.

I COULD NOT put it down! It was SO good! There was action and drama. It was frightening and exciting. I laughed, I cried, I bit my nails.

Less then two days later I was done and ready to move to book 2! PHEW!

The story itself is slightly far fetched and there is the issue of kids killing other kids for “sport” but that is really the only negative things I can say about the book. It was well written and fast based. And while there are some underlying tones of romance it does not consume Katniss in the way it consumed Bella in the Twilight series.

I absolutely loved this book!

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sometimes sequels have the tendency to disappoint. This one did not! I began reading Catching Fire immediately after I finished The Hunger Games. Once again I could not put the book down!

The story is somewhat similar to the first but with a lot of crazy and unexpected twists and turns. It is a book that will leave you shocked and amazed. You will definitely want more!

 

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While I enjoyed Mockingjay I certainly didn’t like it anywhere near as much as I liked the first two books in the series.

Mockingjay was lacking a lot of the excitement of the first two. There was still a lot going on in the book and a lot of action but it just didn’t hold my attention as well.

The story takes an interesting turn as Katniss begins to fully understand what it means to be the Mockingjay.

Part of what I enjoyed about the first two books was that while there was a definite conflict between Gale and Peeta there wasn’t a major focus on the whole “love life” aspect. This definitely comes into play more in this last book as the story wraps up.

While certainly a well written and exciting book it just didn’t stand up to the excitement and hype generated by the first two books.

View all my reviews on Goodreads.com or click the button below to find more on Eggs and Herbs.

Planting Dandelions: Field Notes From a Semi-Domesticated Life by Kyran Pittman {52 Books in a Year}

My goal is to read 52 books in 2012.  Good or bad, as I read, I will be reviewing the books here.  Be sure to leave a comment and tell me about your favorite books!

Planting Dandelions: Field Notes From a Semi-Domesticated Life by Kyran Pittman
(Book overview found on Goodreads.com)

In the family of Jen Lancaster and Elizabeth Gilbert, Kyran Pittman is the laid-back middle sister: warm and witty and confiding, with an addictively smart and genuine voice-but married with three kids and living in the heartland. Relatable and real, she writes about family in a way that highlights all its humor, while at the same time honoring its depth.

A regular contributor to Good Housekeeping, Pittman is well loved because she is funny and honest and self-deprecating, because her own household is in chaos (“semi-domesticated”), and because she inspires readers in their own domestic lives. In these eighteen linked, chronological essays, Pittman covers the first twelve years of becoming a family, writing candidly and hilariously about things like learning to maintain a marriage over time; dealing with the challenges of sex after childbirth; saying good-bye to her younger self and embracing the still attractive, forty-year-old version; and trying to “recession- proof” her family (i.e., downsize to avoid foreclosure).

From a fresh new talent, celebrating the joys and trials of a new generation of parents, Planting Dandelions is an entertaining tribute to choosing the white-picket fence over the other options available, even if you don’t manage to live up to its ideals every day.

My Thoughts…

 

Planting Dandelions: Field Notes From a Semi-Domesticated LifePlanting Dandelions: Field Notes From a Semi-Domesticated Life by Kyran Pittman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I am one of the founding members of Arkansas Women Bloggers of which Kyran Pittman is a member. I first met Kyran in December of 2010 when she was the keynote speaker at one of our blogger meet-ups. I was first introduced to this book when she spoke omit during her time with us.

I had Planting Danelions on my wish list for just over a year before I finally got around to reading it..

From what I understand the book is made up of blog posts and magazine articles she wrote about motherhood and her family over the course of several years.

The book is very well written and funny. The book just didn’t relate to me at all. I have not been divorced, I haven’t had an affair, I don’t have kids. There was no part of the book where I thought I could relate to Mrs. Pittman.

I have read other similar books in this genre such as The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love by Kristen Kimball and Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl by Susan McCorkindale. I loved both of these books and found that the touched on the essence of a professional vs. domestic career, motherhood, marriage and relationships in a way that related to all readers.

My biggest regret about this book is that it’s reach was so narrow and specific.

View all my reviews on Goodreads.com or click the button below to find more on Eggs and Herbs.

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley {52 Books in a Year}

My goal is to read 52 books in 2012.  Good or bad, as I read, I will be reviewing the books here.  Be sure to leave a comment and tell me about your favorite books!

The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
(Book overview found on Goodreads.com)

The body you are wearing used to be mine.

So begins the letter Myfanwy Thomas is holding when she awakes in a London park surrounded by bodies all wearing latex gloves. With no recollection of who she is, Myfanwy must follow the instructions her former self left behind to discover her identity and track down the agents who want to destroy her.

She soon learns that she is a Rook, a high-ranking member of a secret organization called the Chequy that battles the many supernatural forces at work in Britain. She also discovers that she possesses a rare, potentially deadly supernatural ability of her own.

In her quest to uncover which member of the Chequy betrayed her and why, Myfanwy encounters a person with four bodies, an aristocratic woman who can enter her dreams, a secret training facility where children are transformed into deadly fighters, and a conspiracy more vast than she ever could have imagined.

Filled with characters both fascinating and fantastical, THE ROOK is a richly inventive, suspenseful, and often wry thriller that marks an ambitious debut from a promising young writer.

My thoughts…

The RookThe Rook by Daniel O’Malley

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book was recommended to me and toted as part Harry Potter, part Ghost Busters, part Men in Black and part Bourne Identity. It sounded like just the type of book I would love. I was wrong. I wanted to love it, I really did, but in the end I just couldn’t.

The story started strong and then just went downhill from there. There were countless characters with strange names and nothing about them that was memorable. I found myself constantly having to search back through the book thinking, “now who was this person?”

It felt as if the author started with a great story and then rushed to make some publishers deadline. I lost interest at page 50. I held on though. I kept HOPING it would get better and I really wanted to know how it all turned out.

When I finally finished I was disappointed. There are SO many ways it could have ended that would have been exciting but O’Malley chose the one way that really wasn’t.

Perhaps you will like this book. I just didn’t.

View all my reviews on Goodreads.com or click the button below to find more on Eggs and Herbs.

When in Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison {52 Books in a Year}

My goal is to read 52 books in 2012.  Good or bad, as I read, I will be reviewing the books here.  Be sure to leave a comment and tell me about your favorite books!

Disclaimer: I received an advanced reading copy (ARC) as part of Goodreads First Reads program on goodreads.com. My opinions are my own.

When in Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison
(Book overview found on goodreads.com)

From the New York Times bestselling author of Shoe Addicts Anonymous and Always Something There to Remind Me comes a delicious new novel about the search for true love and all the ingredients that go into it. As far as Gemma is concerned, her days of dating are over. In fact, it’s her job to cater other peoples’ dates, and that’s just fine by her. At thirty-seven, she has her own business, working as a private chef, and her life feels full and secure. She’s got six steady clients that keep her hands full. There’s Lex, the fussy but fabulous department store owner who loves Oysters Rockefeller and 1950s comfort food; Willa, who needs to lose weight under doctor’s orders but still believes butter makes everything better; a colorful family who may or may not be part of the Russian mob; an überwealthy Georgetown family; the picture-perfect Van Houghtens, whose matriarch is “allergic to everything”; and finally, a man she calls “Mr. Tuesday,” whom she has never met but who she is strangely drawn to. For Gemma, cooking is predictable. Recipes are certain. Use good ingredients, follow the directions, and you are assured success. Life, on the other hand, is full of variables. So when Gemma’s takes an unexpected turn on a road she always thought was straight and narrow, she must face her past and move on in ways she never would have imagined. Because sometimes in life, all you need is a little hope, a lot of courage, and—oh yes—butter.

My Thoughts…

When in Doubt, Add ButterWhen in Doubt, Add Butter by Beth Harbison Expected publication date is July 17, 2012.

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Disclaimer: I received an advanced reading copy (ARC) as part of Goodreads First Reads program. My opinions are my own.

I tend to be more of a fan of “intellectual” literature. I like books that really make you think. This book was certainly not one of those books.

That being said, I also occasionally enjoy what I like to call “beach-reads”. To me beach-reads are the type of books you can read through quickly without much intellectual involvement or processing. They are the type of books that are catchy, cute and enjoyable. This book would make the perfect beach read.

The story was ridiculously predictable. I knew who Mr. Tuesday was the moment he was introduced and I knew exactly where the story was going. There really were no “surprises” to the story. No unexpected twists or turns.

Several characters were introduced that really had nothing to do with the overall story. Sometimes they feeled forced and almost as if they were just there to. Fill space so the book could be long enough to be marketable as a novel rather than a short story.

The author took a REALLY long time to progress the story. In the end everything was wrapped up in less than three pages and was really anti-climactic. Several side stories were vaguely finalized if at all. In many ways it felt as if the author was setting the book up for a sequel.

I gave this book three stars because while it was easy and “enjoyable” to read there wasn’t really much to it.

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