Monday, December 30, 2013

wow I read a lot of books this year

Discovering GoodReads at the end of 2012 changed my life! Well, maybe that's an over statement, but I love keeping track of books I want to read, what I've read, and that I can easily track how many books I read a year.

I made myself a goal to read 50 books this year. I've never counted before, and nearly a book a week seemed challenging but do able. I've always been a pretty active reader, and read every night before bed, but with this blog, and getting advanced reader copies to review, I've made it more of a priority.

With that being said, I was very happy to achieve and blow through my goal, reading 66 books in 2013!

2014 goal: 
   - read 75 books
   - read one or more Steven King books

Since there was a month or two this year in which I didn't read much, I'm upping my goal this next year, and fairly confident I can do it. Also, I've never read a Steven King book, and I've been wanting to lately, so why not make it a goal also. Anyone have a recommendation for a good book to start off with?

Wishing everyone a fabulous holiday season and a great 2014!

Saturday, December 28, 2013


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Friday, December 27, 2013

Mad About a Boy by Helen Fielding - Book Review

BookMad About the Boy (Bridget Jones #3)
AuthorHelen Fielding
Genre: Fiction, Chick-Lit
Publisher/Publish DateKnopf Canada / October 15, 2013
Source: Public Library
Pages: 336
Rating: 4/5
GoodReads  •  Amazon

Thirteen years have passed, and at the age of 51 Bridget Jones is thrown back into the world of dating, though now as a widow with two young children. Bridget meets a man over Twitter who turns out to be 29, though a lot of fun. She must decided if he fits in her life as a single mother, and learns about herself him the process with the help of her hilarious and crazy friends.

I loved the first two Bridget Jones novels, as well as the movies, and was excited when I heard Helen Fielding wrote a third book in the series. It's a bit of a jump in time, so it was interesting to see a more grown up Bridget, though maybe only a little bit more mature than before. This book has a similar tone to the first time, and includes most of her friends who we have already been introduced to.

I am in my 30's and relate more to Bridget of the first two books, but even though she is in her 50's and they comment on it a lot, she's the same funny, neurotic, weight obsessed, self-help book reading character, but with a little more soul.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Beyond Belief by Jenna Miscavige Hill - Book Review

BookBeyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape
AuthorJenna Miscavige Hill, with Lisa Pulitzer
Genre: Non-Fiction / Memoir 
Publisher/Publish DateWilliam Morrow / January, 2013
Source: Public Library
Pages: 416
Rating: 3.5/5
GoodReads  •  Amazon

Raised as a Scientologist, and the niece of the church's leader David Miscavige, Jenna Miscavige Hill decided to leave at the age of 21, breaking free of all she had ever known. Hill provides a unique, insider look at the secretive church. Her childhood was spent separated from her parents, days filled with labor and discipline, and forced to grow up at an early age.

It's shocking to hear what her parents allow to happen to her, and how different her childhood is from the average American. Her isolation from the rest of the world keeps her from knowing what is "normal" and keeps the rest of us from knowing the pain that these children are going through.

This book is a good companion to Going Clear, since this is a look at Scientology from the inside. A look at what the rules of the religion really look like when played out upon a family and the secrets and lies that the church is rooted in. The book is mostly about Hill's personal experiences, but give you a broad idea of the culture and inner workings of the church.

Saturday, December 21, 2013


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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn - Book Review

BookSharp Objects
AuthorGillian Flynn
Genre: Fiction 
Publisher/Publish DateShaye Areheart Books / September, 2006
Source: Public Library
Pages: 272
Rating: 3.5/5
GoodReads  •  Amazon

An earlier novel by the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn's Sharp Objects follows a Chicago reporter as she heads back to her home town to report on the murders of two young girls. She returns to her childhood home, staying with a mom that never knew how to be a good mom, and a much younger half-sister she barely knows and doesn't recognize at first. This novel is full of deep, interesting characters, who we discover as we move closer to learning who is behind the murders.

I loved Gone Girl, and was exciting to read more by Gillian Flynn. I was taking a little off guard with this book, but may have understood it better if I head read the synopsis before hand and had known what I was getting into. While I really liked the book, it takes a little while before you have all the clues to really understand the main character and her relationship with her family, which is at the core of the novel. This was the perfect book for a vacation, and helped me get through a few plane rides without getting too bored. The book moves fast and was riveting till the end.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The Whale Warriors by Peter Heller - Book Review

BookThe Whale Warriors: The Battle at the Bottom of the World to Save the Planet's Largest Mammals
AuthorPeter Heller
Genre: Non-Fiction 
Publisher/Publish DateFree Press / September, 2007
Source: Public Library
Pages: 288
Rating: 3.5/5
GoodReads  •  Amazon

At the bottom of the globe near Antarctica, there is a battle going on between Japanese whalers and activists (eco-pirates) who are trying to save the wales. The Farley, captained by Paul Watson who runs the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, is out to stop whaling for good, by any means necessary. While whaling is mostly illegal, the Japanese get around the laws by saying they are doing it for research.

Fighting to stop whaling is part waiting (it can take weeks to find the ships), and part high action. Watson has previously sunk eight whaling ships and the Farley is outfitted with a seven-foot blade on the bow, bottles of smelly acid to throw aboard whaling vessels, and water cannons.

Peter Heller joined the crew on season and experienced first hand the joyous and dangerous parts of being part of Sea Shepherd. He does a great job at presenting the story without strongly taking sides. It's a great book if you are interested in what's happening with whaling without someone preaching to you.

I originally head about the Sea Shepherd on Animal Planet's reality show, Whale Wars, which has been following them now for five seasons. It's a fascinating show, and while I may not agree with all of their tactics I find their tenacity and idealism fascinating to watch.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


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Monday, December 2, 2013

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty - Book Review

BookThe Husband's Secret
AuthorLiane Moriarty
Genre: Fiction 
Publisher/Publish DatePenguin Books / April, 2013
Source: ARC from publisher
Pages: 416
Rating: 4/5
GoodReads  •  Amazon

I was first introduced to Liane Moriarty when I read her book What Alice Forgot, and was happy when I realized this ARC sitting on my bookshelf was also by Moriarty. I've always been a big fan of chick-lit authors like Marian Keyes, but I enjoy that Moriarty's novels are just a little more serious. I'd call it light-hearted drama.

The Husband's Secret follows the lives of three women. Cecilia, the main character, discovered a letter written by her husband labeled "read if I die." Upon learning that it was found, the husband rushes home from his work trip, making Cecilia even more curious that secrets lie in the letter. As the novel continues, the three women's lives start to entwine in some startling ways.

I won't say much more, since I don't want to give the "secret" away, but I will say the pay off it worth it. While Moriarty provides clues, it's hard to guess what the secret is before it's revealed. At least for me it was. The novel is told from three different point of views, which makes it a little confusing at times, but I think this was the best way to tell each women's story in a personal way.

Loved this book, and look forward to reading more by Liane Moriarty.

If you have reviewed this book, please leave a link to the review in the comments and I will add your review to the main post. All I ask is for you to do the same to mine — thanks!

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, but it in no way effects my review of the book. Please note that we receive affiliate income from any books purchased at Amazon.