Monthly Archives: December 2014

Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks 2014 Wrap-up

How many books did you read and did you meet your own personal goal?
I read 125 books. I exceeded my personal goal. That is the most books I’ve ever read in a year, but not the most pages.

Most thrilling, oh my goodness, I want to read it again, unputdownable book?
The best book I read this year was Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler. I think it’s the only one I wished I could rate higher than 5 stars.

Top 5 favorite stories?
My top five favorites this year, aside from Calling Me Home, in the order I read them, are Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Little Blog on the Prairie by Cathleen Davitt Bell, Michael Vey 4: Hunt for Jade Dragon by Richard Paul Evans, Lye in Wait by Cricket McRae, and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. I did not choose any books that I reread this year because of course those are some of my favorites already!

Least favorite book?
I really did not like Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe.

New author discovery? New genre discovery?
I didn’t discover any new authors this year. I did discover that I don’t hate almost all classics. I really thought I did, but enjoyed many over the course of the year. In a way I suppose I “discovered” L. Frank Baum. I had read The Wizard of Oz before, but this year I read two other Oz books and really enjoyed them. At some point I want to read all the rest of the Oz books as well. He was a really good author.

One book that touched you – made you laugh, cry, sing or dance.
Definitely Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler. I think it made me do all of those things!

Are you ready to do it all over again?
Absolutely!

Do you have any goals to check out different genres or authors, read translated books or stories in another language for 2015?
In 2015, my daughter and I are both going to do a reading challenge she found somewhere. It requires a pretty large variety. My daughter’s already figured out nearly every book she’s going to read for the challenge. I’ll figure it out as I go along.

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Filed under Annual Wrap-Up

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Have you ever seen old photographs that are a little strange? Maybe a little girl’s hands are glowing. Maybe another appears to be floating above the ground. Maybe a little boy is covered in bees. Maybe a solemn child is holding a boulder above her head. Have you ever wondered about the people in those old photographs? Have you ever wondered what their story was?

That’s exactly what Random Riggs did. And the result is Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.

Jacob’s grandfather always told Jacob stories, crazy stories, about the children he lived with for a time in a small home for children run by Miss Peregrine. As Jacob grew up, he, like everyone else, began to think his grandfather was just telling tales, but there were still the photographs. When Jacob’s grandfather dies, saying some strange last words, Jacob thinks he sees a monster nearby. This sends Jacob into a downward spiral trying to either understand the truth or stop being crazy (which is what everyone thinks he is). Ultimately, this leads him, with the support of his therapist, to go to the small British island where his grandfather lived with Miss Peregrine and the other peculiar children. Jacob is more confused than ever when he finds the house and downright shocked when he learns the truth.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children is a really imaginative and fun book. The author has collected strange old photos for years and developed a whole multi-book story to go along with them (pictures are included). The first part of the book can drag at times, but it is never boring. I read it at the request of my 14-year-old daughter. I, in turn, recommended it to my 68-year-old mother. This is a book that can definitely be enjoyed by people of many ages!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 125
Pages Read in 2014: 24,500
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Fantasy, Young Adult

Lye in Wait by Cricket McRae

Sophie Mae lives a quiet life running a home-based business selling hand-crafted soaps and lotions. Until the handyman drinks lye and ends up dead in Sophie Mae’s workroom. The death is quickly ruled a suicide, but not willing to accept that as the answer, Sophie Mae sets out on her own, sometimes dangerous, investigation to figure out what really happened.

Lye in Wait is a real page-turner. I barely could put it down. I thought it was going to be predictable and thought I had things all figured out when a bombshell was dropped and it turned out I was all wrong. Then I thought I had it all figured out once again, but, again, I was all wrong. The action starts right away and doesn’t quit until the very end. Excellent book!

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 123
Pages Read in 2014: 24,057
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Realistic Fiction

A Way Through the Sea by Robert Elmer

Twins Peter and Elise and their friend Henrik are 11 year olds in 1943 Denmark. The presence of German soldiers upsets all of them, particularly because Henrik is Jewish, something that never mattered to anyone before the invasion. This historical fiction is set in the months leading up to the order to round up the Danish Jews. While the characters in the book are entirely fiction, what the Danes did to help save the Jews from the Nazis is completely true.

A Way Through the Sea by Robert Elmer is well written and relatively short so reads fast. At times it drags, particularly the beginning, but once the real action begins it moves well and I couldn’t put it down. I wholeheartedly recommend this book for children (about 10+ in order to understand why the Jews had to escape to safety in Sweden) and adults alike. It’s a sweet story and even more amazing because similar situations to the one described really happened.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 121
Pages Read in 2014: 23,589
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Middle Grades

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is a fun, light-hearted story of a boy growing up in a small town in the 1800s. It follows his life over a non-specified amount of time. He plays with his friends, he camps out on an island for a few days, he goes to church and school, he witnesses a murder, he hunts for buried treasure, he gets lost in a cave, and so much more.

I’ve never been a fan of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, so I wasn’t excited about reading Tom Sawyer. As it turned out, I enjoyed Tom Sawyer quite a lot. I especially liked the chapter about taking oral examinations. My great-grandfather told stories about taking exams himself in very much the same way. I definitely recommend this book!

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2014: 119
Pages Read in 2014: 22,746
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Classic