Going for Goldilocks


Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell No one writes love stories like Rainbow.  No one writes coming of age stories like Rainbow. There’s a level of realism that as a reader I don’t even realize I’m missing until I read one of Rainbow’s books.

The development of Cath and Levi’s relationship builds so gradually and with such detail that everything else I’ve read seems shallow.  I’m at a loss for words to describe Levi.  He’s a swoon-worthy romantic lead, but not because he’s so hot (from context I’d guess he’s attractive) or brooding (he’s pretty much the opposite of brooding).  Reading about Levi is like having a light turn on that you didn’t realize was off – man that sounds cheesy – but he really does just light up the page. 

The coming-of-age aspect I mentioned a bit ago is also handled elegantly.  Cath grows throughout the novel in her writing, in how she deals with new situations and people, and also in how she views herself.  What’s truly amazing is how natural the growth feels – I felt as if I was watching someone grow up and cheering her on as she did it.  Avoiding confrontation comes naturally to Cath, but I really admired that when she was forced to express her feelings she was honest.  She never diminished her own feelings because someone else might think she was being overly dramatic.  Cath instinctively understands that even if something is a bigger deal to her than others, it doesn’t mean that she’s wrong. Every major character - Cath, Levi, Wren, Reagan, and Cath’s dad - mature in this novel. It happens organically as events in their lives change their perspectives or make them more confident of what they already believed.  None of them were two-dimensional – I felt like I knew and wanted to be friends with all of them.

Full review at
Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint - Nadia Bolz-Weber Loved it! Full review will post to my blog tomorrow and I'll update this then.
11/22/63 - Stephen King I'm stingy with 5 stars, but if I'm still thinking about this one a year from now (and I probably will be) I'll bump the rating up.

I don't know how to summarize without giving anything away, but 11/22/63 is beautifully written, heartwarming, heart-wrenching, and fascinating. I don't read a lot of Stephen King - I don't really do horror but I'll read apocalyptic stuff, but 11/22/63 isn't horror or apocalyptic. It's a love story/suspense with the teeniest amount of sci-fy.

So Tough to Tame - Victoria Dahl Review to come
When Crickets Cry - Charles Martin The Good

It was readable and I finished (lately that has been rare for me). I also read it a month ago and had no problem remembering details to write a review. I think the underlying story was good just not executed very well.

The Bad

Some sections of writing we're the definition of "trying to hard". The first paragraph was so bad if it hadn't been a book club selection I would not have kept reading. This is also the most predictable (and over done) ending I've ever read. Not just whether it was a happy ending or not..I predicted all the details of how the end would play out except one.

For my full review

A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents - Liza Palmer I really enjoy Palmer's novels with one exception. My biggest complaint is that if she's going to mention sports of any kind she should make sure she has someone who understands them edit for her. Seriously "Phase One are the runners who will be finishing the 5K in under 8 min". Common sense told me that was ridiculous, a quick Google search told me that the World record is 12:37.35.
Jessica - Bryce Courtenay I have finally conceded that I will never finish this book. Too many characters making irrational decisions that felt contrived to force the story where the author wanted it to go. I still love Courtenay's prose (Hence the second star), but this one is a miss for me
The Adoration of Jenna Fox  - Mary E. Pearson As much as it pains me to do I'm conceding defeat. I got 2/3rds of the way through it, put it down for months (it didn't even occur to me to pick it back up unless I was on Goodreads and had the reminder that it was in progress). I decided to re-attempt today and after about 10 more pages decided to throw in the towel. I honestly don't care what happens to anyone in this book.
The Hallowed Ones - Laura Bickle 3.5 stars

Very interesting story/concept even with the glut of vampire fiction on bookshelves lately. It was easy to read, but nothing especially interesting about the prose.
Daughter of Smoke & Bone - Laini Taylor Fantasy is just not my genre. I never fully engaged in this one and then it ended with a to be continued - an unforgivable book sin by me. If the first book in a trilogy can't stand on its own I will not read book 2. To be fair I wouldn't have cared enough to read book 2 anyway.

This got a second star because there were a few quotes I liked and noted.
The Kitchen House - Kathleen Grissom I waffled between 3 and 4 stars but went with 4 because I've struggled to read anything of substance lately. I think if I had read this last year it would have been 4 stars no question.
Silken Prey - John Sandford John Sandford can never retire and must live forever. I look forward to the two books he releases a year (spring and fall) and he never disappoints.
The Selection - Kiera Cass Exceeded my expectations (unfortunately because I have to be up in less than 5 hours). A few pieces felt a little too Hunger Games Deja vu, but overall entertaining read. Hopefully I find time write up a complete review in the near future.
On the Jellicoe Road - Melina Marchetta My finish date is the day I admitted I was never getting past 40% complete. This one just never grabbed me.

Flat-Out Love

Flat-Out Love - Jessica Park Had high hopes for this one, but it didn't do anything for me. I gave up after reading about 25%. Too many books on my to-read shelf to spend more time with something II'm not enjoying.
Through the Ever Night - Veronica Rossi Excellent! No sophomore slump here. I enjoyed book 2 more than the first!

Currently reading

Swimming at Night
Lucy Clarke
Storm Front
John Sandford