Virtual Book Shelf

16 down, 34 to go!

People…I doubled my book count this month. They weren’t all super long, but I didn’t completely skimp either. It helped that my husband worked a lot towards the end of the month, and I cranked out 3 books in 1 week, but even with all the quality reading time, I’d still rather spend it with my man, ha! Let’s dive in, y’all.

  1. Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between) by Lauren Graham                                LG bookI love all things Gilmore Girls, and the lady behind Lorelai is my #1. As soon as I saw that this book existed, I added my name to the list on Overdrive (have I explained what this is? E-books you can download from your library? It’s insane – check it out in the app store!) and then waited approximately 4 months to get it. I WOULD have just gone and bought it, but it was Christmas time, and you don’t buy yourself things at Christmas time (because 1. you should be buying them for other people and 2. your husband might have already bought it for you and then you ruin the surprise again) and then I had other books gifted to me to read. Either way, I inhaled it as soon as it became available, and I think I was done in less than 48 hours. It was a quick read (obviously), and I really enjoyed getting to know Lauren  Graham a little better. I loved her in GG as well as in Parenthood, and I’ve always loved the way she portrayed motherhood in such a laid-back and yet hands-on way (you know as fictitious mothers in tv shows written by writers, but whatever).
  2. Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult                      Leaving Time I downloaded this book from Overdrive at the same time as Plain Truth also by Jodi Picoult, and read this one next. It was a bit slow to get into as it gives you a lot (a LOT) of facts about elephants, especially right off the bat, but like most Jodi Picoult books, I was sucked in and then ended up staying up super late every night reading. It’s about a girl who enlists the help of a retired-cop-turned-PI and washed-up-psychic to help her find her mother, a scientist who studied elephants. The ending totally surprised me, and I did not see it coming at all. That’s all I’ll say so I don’t ruin it for you should you decide to indulge. Also, when I finished it, I went into Riley’s room and creepily watched her sleep before going back to my own bed.
  3. By the Numbers by Jen Lancaster             btn I first discovered Jen Lancaster’s memoir, Bitter is the New Black, back in college, and fell instantly in love with Jen’s writing. She started out as an author after getting laid off from a high-paying corporate job and turned her blog (back when they were brand new) into a paid-author gig. She now has a whole slew of memoirs as well as fiction titles. I loved the first couple of memoirs she put out, and I still love her voice, but I don’t always get into her novels the way I used to love her first few memoirs. This is probably my favorite novel of hers that I’ve read, and I found myself missing the characters when I was done. It’s about an actuary who finds numbers less confusing than her family and ends up paying for her youngest daughter’s wedding while somehow living with her wealthy (slightly racist) parents, her other daughter who runs a fashion blog (and is deep in debt), and for a period of time, her recent ex-husband whose girlfriend passes him off after an accident in Costa Rica. It’s funny and heart-warming and makes you realize how important family time really is.
  4. Twisted Sisters by Jen Lancaster                    td Another book by Jen Lancaster! I had downloaded a sample of this one when it was first released, but never pulled the trigger to buy it. It was okay. I didn’t love it, and honestly I kind of thought the main character was annoying throughout most of it, which is definitely the point, but why do I want to be annoyed while reading? Anyway, it’s about an over-achieving psychologist who finds success on a TV show after utilizing some new-age method of swapping bodies with other people. She takes it a step (or a million) too far by inhabiting her sister who she has never been able to get along with (and who she is clearly extremely jealous of). Like I said, it’s okay, but as a loyal Jen Lancaster fan, I stuck it out to the end.
  5. Eligible: a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld                          eligible I LOVED this book. I’ve scene it pop up on book reviews on other blogs and finally downloaded it fairly quickly thanks to multiple electronic copies at my library. As the title says, it’s a modern re-telling of Pride and Prejudice (which I totally read during AP English junior year…sense the sarcasm, people), and while I can’t remember (or never read?) the original, I felt like the author did a great job of making a classic modern. It’s about a family of 5 sisters ranging in age from just-about-40 down to early-20’s…and NONE of them are married, much to their mother’s chagrin. Liz (the true main character) and Jane return home to Cincinnatti after their father was hospitalized to help take care of the family and realize their parents and sisters are bordering a hoarding problem (mom loves catalogues) and on the verge of bankruptcy (dad is a trust-fund-baby who manages the family money…as his only job). There’s a lot more to the story including several love stories, but the whole thing wraps up in a beautiful bow and it was such a good happy ending, I think I need to try to read (I mean re-read) the original.
  6. Everybody Rise by Stephanie Clifford                                                                                              er This was another book I read about on a blogger’s book review post, and again it was OKAY. I did find myself thinking about the book and its characters after I was done (usually a sign that I enjoyed the book), but the whole time I was reading, I just wanted to be done. The main character is super annoying and also kind of dumb when approaching her entire life. The main character Evelyn goes from seemingly resenting her social-climbing other’s insistence that she be part of the upper elite society of NYC to working for a social media site aimed at the most prestigious of that very same demographic. She blames her job for having to use her connections (a few well-bred friends from prep school) to gain entry to parties in the Adirondacks and the Hamptons and lies her way to the side of the princess of New York’s social scene. In doing so, she alienated her family and real friends and gains a crap ton of debt and loses her job. She salvages herself at the end of the book, but really her whole in-denial thing was really annoying and just a drag to read about, especially when she was basically given everything she could want from an education and childhood. If I sound bitter, it’s because this fake person really bothered me! But again, I was still thinking about her a couple days later so maybe she’s just more real (like real-ly annoying?) than some other characters?
  7. The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards MKD I’ve seen this book around forever and always wanted to read it, but then when I go to buy it I realize it’s not the book I thought it was (I always get it confused with the Time Traveler’s Wife which I’ve seen, but not read). My mother-in-law introduced me to BookBub.com where you enter in some of your favorite authors and then you get an email each morning with books you might like. They range from $2.99 to FREE (I love free) on Amazon and there doesn’t seem to be any catch (as of yet). I now have about 20 books to read on my Kindle for whenever I get into a book slump, and I’ve paid little to nothing for them. Anyway, this popped up as a cheap one (maybe $0.99?) and I automatically added it to my cart. It’s about a doctor who ends up delivering his own twins during a blizzard in 1964 Kentucky. The first baby, a boy, appears perfect, but the surprise second baby, a girl, is born with down syndrome, which was much less common or accepted at that time. The doctor instructs the nurse to immediately bring the baby girl to an institution that he knows about, but when she gets there, she can’t bring herself to do it. The story is about the parallel lives of the 2 families, and it was immensely interesting to read them that way. I really enjoyed it, even if it left me wishing for a do-over for that (again fictitious) doctor.
  8. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Nail Gaiman oeotl Ron gave me this book for Christmas years ago, and I have started it more times than I can remember. I’ve never gotten past page 50 for some reason, and really the only reason I can think of is that maybe I was too busy working 2 jobs or being a new mom at any given time to give it the proper attention? It was a really good book, and I was halfway through it on March 31st, but I couldn’t put it down (I technically finished it on April 1st but shh!). It’s deemed a fairy take, but Neil Gaiman intended it to be a short story. It is told from a the point of view a middle-aged man who is remembering a story from when he was 7 and discovered a neighbor’s supernatural secret. It’s definitely a little on the odd side, but once I finally got into it, I couldn’t wait to see how the boy and his newfound friend, Lettie Hempstock (an 11-year-old girl who seems to have been 11 for much too long) vanquish the evil that has overtaken the unnamed boy’s world. The ending was a bit sad in a reflective way, but definitely made you think about wanting to be a better person.

WHEW! That was a long post to write (or at least it felt it). We have a lot going on in April so I’m hoping to stick to my minimum (thus far) of 4 books a month, although I already have one under my belt.

Have you read any good books lately?

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