I have always loved reading. Somewhere along the way, I would just forget to read for a while. Then, when I'd finally get around to picking up a book from one of our shelves again, I'd fall in love with reading all over again and I'd end up binging on as many books as I could. When I was sitting around coming up with things I wanted to put on this goal list
, I had just bought a book that I was planning on reading, so I thought it would be worth it to make a point to read at least one book a month in the next year, plus an extra sometime along the way. Well, I read the first book and loved it. Then I started 2 or 3 more all at the same time. I usually just stick to one book at a time, but I had heard of other people doing it this way, and I ended up really liking it. It made reading very flexible since I could choose how serious, or not, the book was.
It's been 6 months and I've already finished my original goal of 13 books read. (The picture shows 12 because I either borrowed one book from the library, or I misplaced it from my own.) For this post, I introduce the book, with a link to buy it if you'd like, and give a small synopsis. Below that, I rate the book, 1 to 5 stars, and give my opinion on the book. Some may had some small spoilers, but I tried my hardest to not give anything important away. But just a head's up in case you really care about that stuff.
My books so far include (not in the order I read them, just the order I stacked them for my photo):
Jay's Journal by Anonymous, edited by Beatrice Sparks
- It's very similar to Go Ask Alice, but this journal follows a teenager named Jay who starts out caring about school and his two best friends. But then he starts experimenting with drugs and witchcraft. He becomes fascinated with the things he is capable doing and continues to practice with the occult until he thinks there's no way out.
★★★☆☆ I felt like the writing, and even the plot, was too similar to Go Ask Alice...I know it probably wouldn't bug other people, especially since Go Ask Alice is one of my favorites, but it bothered me. It made it seem less real. Anyway, I thought the whole "LDS/Mormon" aspect of the book was interesting even if they didn't mention it often. And I wish some parts would've been more specific, as some of the situations were really generic. The ending isn't a surprise if you read the back cover, but the last bit of the book was really good at drawing me in.
Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, books 1-5
(I had a while were I wasn't going to count these individually since they're in the youth section...not even young adult. But for little kids. HA! But since I adore the movie with Jim Carrey, I had been wanting to read them for quite some time. I had bought as many of the books as I could when Border's was closing, and they were ones that were nice to read when I didn't want to read something "heavier." They're also suuuper hilarious, a word here which means I was laughing enough that Riley would mimic me with a giggle every few pages.) Anyway, the books follow the three Baudelaire children, Violet, Clause, and Sunny, during their life after finding out that their parents are home have perished in a terrible fire. They are sent to live with different relatives that they've never even met by a banker named Mr. Poe. The encounter Count Olaf in the first book who just wants the Baudelaire fortune, and he continues to follow them throughout the other books.
#1: The Bad Beginning
#2: The Reptile Room
#3: The Wide Window
#4: The Miserable Mill
#5: The Austere Academy
★★★★★ (for all. #4 was my least favorite though.) I don't know if I'd really recommend these to adults, per se. You can tell they're meant for young kids, which is perfectly fine. (I also plan on reading most of Roald Dahl's books, which are meant for children, and I still read Harry Potter so I don't have a problem with children's books. But I can see how an adult could have a problem with it.) I like that Lemony Snicket teaches new words in contexts that can help children learn new words. They're really fun books because it feels like the narrator is telling stories to a group of children. The movie follows the first 2 really well, and changed the story of the 3rd book a little bit. And now I just want to go watch the movie...family movie night anyone?! I'll order pizza.
The Dexter Books by Jeff Lindsay
I really love series of books. And I loooove watching Dexter on Showtime. (I'm really bummed this is the last season and there's only a couple episodes left.) The books are completely different from the way the show is.
Darkly Dreaming Dexter
- For those of you not aware, Dexter is a serial killer who has a conscience only kills "bad guys" while he puts on his "I'm a normal guy" persona for everyone around him. He works as a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Metro Police. The books are funny despite talking about murders and I legit laughed out loud more than a couple times. So in this book, a bunch of brutal murders start showing up that bear a striking resemblance to the way he kills his victims. He starts out being flattered and curious about the other killer but then it changes to fear of the other killer and himself.
★★★★★ I really really enjoyed this book. I love Dexter's character and he makes me smile, which is kind of ironic considering what he is, but he's lovable in his own way. I felt like it was a page turner and since it was different from the tv show (even though it pretty much started out the same) it made it more fun because I didn't know what was going to happen. The night before I finished it, I was going cross eyed and was considering pushing through to finish the last 50 or 60 pages. But I saved them for the next morning and I'm happy I was awake. It's intense!
Dearly Devoted Dexter
- Dexter has had to slip into his "normal guy" disguise and has been spending time at his girlfriend's house. A psychopath starts leaving bodies that even make Dexter lost for words. Deborah, his sister, ends up getting pulled into harm's way so Dexter has to help her figure out where the psychopath is before the killer finds him.
★★★★☆ I didn't like this one as much. I think it was the way the killer was that made me not as fond of the book as I wanted to be. It kind of made my stomach knot up a few times. But it got very exciting at a few points and I may or may not have gotten Riley lunch a half hour late when I was at those points. I also did the "read till I'm cross eyed" thing with this book too. So while it was a little repulsive at certain parts, it was definitely worth reading. (I'm actually reading the third Dexter book now.)
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
- Ester is a college student in the 1950s who goes to New York City to intern as a junior editor at a fashion magazine for a summer. Once she returns home, she starts to descend into insanity and she ends up going to several psychiatric wards to try to recover as well as receive some shock therapy.
★★★★★ This book was so...palpable. Her descriptions of Ester's mental illness and breakdown were incredibly written and completely real. It's one of my favorite books I've ever read and I wish Sylvia Plath would have finished the follow up book to this one before she committed suicide. I'll definitely be getting her poetry books, but this novel was so magnificent. I just sigh every time I think about it.
The Night Gwen Stacy Died by Sarah Bruni
- Sheila Gower is a 17 year old girl who lives in a small college town. When a handsome young man, who calls himself Peter Parker (Spiderman), convinces her to run away with him to Chicago because he has these psychic visions. He starts calling her Gwen Stacy, after Spiderman's first love, and they end up saving each other while they fall in love and Peter tries to figure out his latest psychic vision.
★★★☆☆ I thought it was a cute story, and I definitely liked the Spiderman references. I thought the ending lacked something and was disappointed in it. The chapters switch between Peter and Gwen narrating, which I've also always kind of been on the wall about. Sometimes it's perfect, and sometimes not. I couldn't really make up my mind about this one though. Otherwise it was a fun read for the summer.
The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith
(JK Rowling's pseudonym) - Detective Cormoran Strike is asked to investigate the death of a super model in London for his only client, while creditors are calling. He's just broken up with his long time girlfriend and is living in his office. He's accidentally sent a temp secretary named Robin, who ends up being a huge asset to him in his case.
★★★★★ I enjoyed this book so much! JK Rowling is one of my favorite writers, although I couldn't ever get into The Casual Vacancy. This book also switched between Strike's character narrating and Robin's character. It was done wonderfully. I definitely couldn't predict the outcome of it and was sad when it ended. I read that JK Rowling is working on a follow up book and I'm buying it as soon as it comes out. Definitely worth reading.
The Painted Girls by Cathy Marie Buchanan
- This is a historical fiction novel where three sisters in 1878 Paris find their lives disintegrating after their father suddenly dies. Their mother works as a laundress but all of her money goes to buy absinthe. Two of the sisters, Marie and Charlotte, join the ballet at the Paris opera in hopes of making money as ballerinas. The oldest sister, Antoinette, looks for work elsewhere. She meets a boy whom she falls in love with, while working on a stage adaptation of Emile Zola's L'Assommoire, and continues with other small jobs after that while seeing him. The middle sister, Marie, meets the famous painter Edgar Degas and models for him for extra money. He ends up painting her and creating a sculpture based on her. Marie also meets a rich patron of the ballet and he offers to help her in her progression in the ballet so she is able to make more money for her family. Both of the sisters must choose which paths they need to take in order to be happy in their lives.
★★★★★ I know I've been giving a lot of five stars to these books, and maybe I'm just in love with reading so I love everything, but this book was wonderful. I haven't read much historical fiction, but I really want to read more after this one. This book switches between the two older sisters, Antoinette and Marie, as well. I wanted to read it all day and all night. My sister is an artist, so I remember her showing me paintings from Degas from the time I was finishing up elementary school and entering junior high. I'm pretty sure she has some prints of his work in her house. So I loved it from that aspect. I liked Marie's story (ballerina who knew Degas) better, but her sister's story was just as compelling in it's own way and it was more of a "oh my gosh! What's going to happen next?!" type story, especially near the end.
Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris
- This is the final book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. Sookie turns down a request from Arlene, a former barmaid at Merlotte's, when she asks for her job back after she gets out of jail for attacking Sookie. (I think it's completely understandable.) The next day, Arlene ends up dead in the trash behind Merlotte's, with Sookie's scarf tied around her. Sookie gets arrested and is also upset that her relationship with her vampire husband, Eric Northman, is becoming very distant. When she finds out the reason why, she becomes even more upset. Old friends come to visit and help her figure out who actually murdered Arlene.
★★☆☆☆ These books are what HBO's True Blood series is based on. Only the books are kind of like night and day. But it makes them fun, like the Dexter books. I like the books a little bit better than the last few seasons of TB, but not this one. It was my least favorite book ever from the entire Sookie Stackhouse books. It seemed rushed, and I hated how she tried to tie things up with every open end from the past books. It seemed forced. Eh... That's it.
So those are the books I've read so far. I have another stack waiting to be read on my side table and I'm so excited about them! I'll be sharing them in smaller groups though since this post has gotten ridiculously long...like one hundred words less than yesterday's post. (If you'd like to read about the other goals I've completed, you can find them collected here
...most posts aren't as long as this one.)
I can't write this post without taking the time to thank everyone who read my post yesterday and commented here, on instagram, texted, or emailed me. I cried multiple times and had a bunch of fuzzy feelings. I felt loved and so happy that I was able to push "publish" on it. Thank you so much everyone. Thank you.