Books from the End of 2013

January 5, 2014

Hello treasured readers! I’ve been MIA for a while, but I think I have a fairly good excuse. I was finishing up school and had final projects and a portfolio and all that, but also — I moved! More on that later…

Despite all the insanity, I didn’t stop reading (I just stopped writing about reading for a little bit). At this point I’m not sure I want to do full reviews of all the books I’ve read but not written about, so instead this is just going to be a little bit of a wrap-up of sorts.

The Ruby Red trilogy by Kerstin Gier.

The trilogy follows Gwyneth — a girl with a time-traveling gene who is unexpectedly thrust into a world of intrigue as she tries to balance everything in her life and make sense of the inner workings of a secret organization. But the stakes are way higher than she could have imagined and she isn’t sure who she can trust. I really enjoyed this trilogy. I think the characters are interesting and it’s a great concept.

The biggest issue I had with these books was their titles. These books have time travel and talking ghosts and tons of intrigue, yet the titles give no hint of that. I think it’s such a great and somewhat unexpected YA trilogy (it’s paranormal/sci fi, but not in the more usual ways and the protagonist is strong and likable, while still reading as a “typical teenage girl”), but there’s nothing to hook the readers. A great title is what makes you take a book off of a shelf and at least see if you’re interested. I think that the titles might cause these books to be passed by, and that’s really unfortunate.

The books are Ruby Red, Sapphire Blue, and Emerald Green and I really do recommend them.

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki.

I liked this book, but reading it was a very slow endeavor. I kept falling in and out of it and for some reason when that happens I often have less to say about those books. This book was short listed for the Booker prize though, so take that for what it’s worth.

I liked the two stories, but I felt like it took too long to reach the climactic scenes of the book. We are so eager to find out what happened and see the convergence of the two stories, but it seems like it’s constantly in the distance. I really think that the last quarter of the book had the most action and some readers might not be willing to invest time in a book where the action is so often delayed.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson.

I finally got around to reading this and it was just as weird and eerie as I wanted it to be. Once you get into the story it’s kind of oddly predictable, but I don’t think that quality detracts from the story at all. It’s a short and good read. Bring it on your next long bus/car ride and you’ll be good to go.

Flash and Dazzle by Lou Aronica.

I received an e-galley of this book from NetGalley and I’m so glad. The book is unexpected and great and incredibly sad. It is really just spectacular and I definitely recommend it. Just be prepared for a bit of an emotional rollercoaster.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

I was reading this book at roughly the same time as Flash and Dazzle, so I was basically just an emotional wreck. There is so much that I could say about this book, but I don’t even know where to start. I think that The Bloggess said it very well, so I’m just going to link to her post about finishing the book instead of trying to articulate my thoughts and feelings (so many feelings).

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh.

This is the long-anticipated (by me, anyway) book that grew out of Allie Brosh’s blog Hyperbole and a Half.  I knew that I would love it as soon as I found out it was going to happen and pre-ordered it accordingly (fun fact: if you’re like me and have the memory of a goldfish, pre-ordering awesome books is like buying presents for yourself in that one day you will receive a package and have no idea what is inside. Then BAM! Awesome book!). Brosh writes about life in all its ridiculousness and tragedy and brings humor to everything. It’s really just fantastic and I will sit here (im)patiently waiting for the next book.

OK, that was longer than I anticipated, so I think my life update will have to be a separate post. These are the books I read at the end of 2013. I’m possibly forgetting some, but it should give you a good idea of what I’ve been reading.


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