Thursday, May 23, 2013

Good March and April Reading

As some of you may, or may not, remember, I set some goals for myself early this year. One of those goals being to "Read 40 Books in 2013." I started the year off with a bang and during the first two months I read 10 books. 

Then March came along and I only managed to get through 2 books. I absolutely love to lose myself in a good book, but had great difficulty focusing, or even having the desire, to pick up a book with everything that was happening in my life.

April was a bit better month for me in the reading department (i.e., I read 3 books - 1 more than March). I started the month with a couple lighthearted books that I really didn't have to "think" or "focus" too much on in order to get through them. 

So here's what I've been reading:
11. Baltimore Blues (Tess Monaghan Series #1) by Laura Lippman
Finished March 8, 2013 

Amazon Description: 

"In a city where someone is murdered almost every day, attorney Michael Abramowitz’s death should be just another statistic. But the slain lawyer’s notoriety—and his taste for illicit midday trysts—make the case front-page news in every local paper except the Star, which crashed and burned before Abramowitz did. A former Star reporter who knows every inch of this town—from historic Fort McHenry to the crumbling projects of Cherry Hill—now unemployed journalist Tess Monaghan also knows the guy the cops like for the killing: cuckolded fiancĂ© Darryl “Rock” Paxton. The time is ripe for a career move, so when rowing buddy Rock wants to hire her to do some unorthodox snooping to help clear his name, Tess agrees. But there are lethal secrets hiding in the Charm City shadows. And Tess’ own name could end up on that ever-expanding list of Baltimore dead." 

Ever since I was a young girl, I always enjoyed mystery novels (Hello! I read Agatha Christie before I was a teenager) and am always on the lookout for new authors to try. I came across this series based on a co-worker's recommendation and I was not disappointed with the book at all. Now only if I could get book #2 in eBook format from my library.

12. Wave by Sonali Deraniyagala
Finished March 24, 2013

Amazon Description:

"On the morning of December 26, 2004, on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, Sonal Deraniyagala lost her parents, her husband, and her two young sons in the tsunami she miraculously survived. In this brave and searingly frank memoir, she describes those first horrifying moments and her long journey since. She has written an engrossing, unsentimental, beautifully poised account: as she struggles through the first months following the tragedy, furiously clenched against a reality that she cannot face and cannot deny; and then, over the ensuing years, as she emerges reluctantly, slowing allowing her memory to take her back through the rich and joyous life she's mourning, from her family's home in London, to the birth of her children, to the year she met her English husband at Cambridge, to her childhood in Colombo; all the while learning the difficult balance between almost unbearable reminders of her loss and the need to keep her family, somehow, still alive within her." 

I found this book through one of my favorite magazines and I immediately put it on hold. On my fourth night of reading it, I mentioned to my honey that this book was completely heart wrenching and it brought tears to my eyes. I couldn't begin to imagine the pain the author was going through after losing her entire family. I even said that I didn't really know why I was still reading it. The next morning I found out my brother unexpectedly passed away. I now knew and understood the pain and grief of the author. I believe that this book came to me when it did for a reason. After not touching the book for almost 2 weeks, I finally finished the last few pages I had left. I don't know if I was expecting a happy ending or a step-by-step answer to how she overcame her grief and moved on with her life. What I did learn was that grief and mourning is a long process. The pain is real and raw. It takes time for the pain to lessen, but it never really truly goes away completely.

13. Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty
Finished April 13, 2013

Amazon Description:

"Australian triplets Lyn, Cat, and Gemma Kettle are about to turn thirty-three and one is pregnant, one has just had her life turned upside down, and one is only just keeping hers from skidding off the fast lane. Meanwhile, their divorced parents have been behaving very oddly indeed. 

In this family comedy by Liane Moriarty, we follow the three Kettle sisters through their tumultuous thirty-third year -- as they deal with sibling rivalry and secrets, revelations and relationships, unfaithful husbands and unthinkable decisions, and the fabulous, frustrating life of forever being part of a trio."

After reading "Wave", I was desperately needing a more uplifting book. I had previously read Liane Moriraty's book "What Alice Forgot" and remembered my sister had read "Three Wishes." This book was absolutely what I needed. Life is crazy for these three girls and from the very beginning you just have to find out how/why one of the pregnant triplets gets stabbed in the belly with a seafood fork by one of the other triplets!

14. The Selection (The Selection #1) by Kiera Cass
Finished April 16, 2013

Amazon Description:

"For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined."

Oh my gosh! This book sucked me right into it. It all started with the cover. I've been know to read a book because of the cover, and for me, the book lived up to it. This is the first in a trilogy for Young Adults, but who really needs to be a Young Adult to enjoy certain books? I found myself rooting for America and wanting her to make the right choices and to not screw things up for herself. At one point I may have even said, out loud, "Don't be stupid" while reading before bed one night. Of course I thought there would be resolution of some sort by the end of this book, but noooooo. Thankfully Book #2 was recently published and I won't have to wait too long to find out what happens.

15. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Finished April 26, 2013

Amazon Description:

"WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart
Words are like a road map to reporter Camille Preaker’s troubled past. Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, Camille’s first assignment from the second-rate daily paper where she works brings her reluctantly back to her hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls.

NASTY on her kneecap, BABYDOLL on her leg
 Since she left town eight years ago, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed again in her family’s Victorian mansion, Camille is haunted by the childhood tragedy she has spent her whole life trying to cut from her memory.

HARMFUL on her wrist, WHORE on her ankle
As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming. With its taut, crafted writing, Sharp Objects is addictive, haunting, and unforgettable."

Oh boy. What can I say about this book? I enjoyed it more that I did "Gone Girl", but at times it was a tough read for me. The main character did not have an easy life growing up (i.e., she cut her entire body). Now she has to (or rather forced to) go back to the town, and her mother, that caused her to do the things she did to herself and report on the mysterious murders of two young girls for her newspaper. I will say that this book was well written and had me turning the pages, even despite the subject matter. 

So tell me, what have you been reading? What should be on my must read list?

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