Ohhhhhhhhh, We’re Halfway There… Second Quarter Reads

Link Round Up

I only read 11 books this quarter (April, May, June), which means that I’m two behind on my goal of 52 books for this year. I’d better catch up! I think my problem was that I only listened to two audiobooks this quarter. In the beginning of the year, I was better about always having one going in the car. It is much more preferable than the radio station surfing that I’ve been up to lately. On the plus side, I finished this post in time to link up with Janssen and Dana! Here’s what I read this quarter:

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

It was scary to be inside the mind of a woman suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s disease, but I thought it was handled beautifully. And the ending was just perfect. I also watched the movie, and I thought it was cast very well.

Blink: the Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

Lots of food for thought. Whenever I read a Malcolm Gladwell book, it’s like my husband is reading it too, because I talk his ear off about it.

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Jojo Moyes really has a way of developing beautiful, flawed characters that you want to root for. I loved the story, but I hated the ending. It was really unsatisfying. Maybe it was realistic, but when I read fiction I like for everything to work out in the end.

It Was Me All Along by Andie Mitchell

Memoir of a young women and her struggle with family, food, and finding herself. Sad at times, but it is real life. You can find more about her on her blog Can You Stay for Dinner?

Paper Towns by John Green

I didn’t really “get” this book. The plot seemed very far-fetched. I did enjoy the characters, though, and the road trip was fun to read about. I’ll probably see the movie, but I won’t pay to see it in the theater. I’ll wait for the DVD.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

I don’t enjoy YA novels where the main character is a self-centered brat who thinks his or her parents are idiots. Lara Jean Song Covey is not such a character. She is shy and unsure of herself, and scared to drive instead of being excited to have her license. She reminded me of myself at that age. I really enjoyed this book, and I am looking forward to reading some of Jenny Han’s others.

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen

I’ve read a lot of Sarah Dessen’s books, and although I have enjoyed them all, I don’t absolutely love every single one. I absolutely loved this book. I was upset when it was over. Luckily, I am about halfway through her newest novel Saint Anything, and I am falling similarly head over heals for that one as well.

45 Pounds (More or Less) by Kelly Barson

I read this in an afternoon on our weekend trip to Lancaster. I wouldn’t call it a great book, but it kept my attention. A teenage girl makes peace with her body while trying to lose weight for her aunt’s wedding.

More than Happy: The Wisdom of Amish Parenting by Serena B. Miller

I learned a lot about how Amish families operate. Of course not everything can be put into practice by the average American family, but many of the ideas could. I enjoyed this.

The Guardian by Beverly Lewis

Cute, light-hearted. Great for the beach. I talked more about it here.

P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

I loved visiting these characters again. An enjoyable read.

Join the link-up or read more of the entries here.

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First Quarter Reads

PicMonkey Collage

The first quarter of the year ended on March 31st. I had every intention of doing this post in the beginning of April and linking up with Janssen, but then life got in the way. Winter felt interminable to me this year, but now Spring seems to be flying by! Anywho, here are my first quarter reads. Maybe I’ll be able to finish my second quarter post in time to join the link-up. No promises, though. I feel like I got the year off to a good start with reading. My goal was one book per week, and I seem to be averaging that. I just need to do a better job of writing my reviews in a timely fashion. I don’t think I’ll be doing full reviews of every book, but I’ll definitely be highlighting my favorites. Here’s what I read from January to March:

Leaving Time by Jodi Picoult (full review here)
I really enjoyed this one, despite the supernatural stuff. Jodi Picoult at her best.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman (full review here)
A quick read, though emotionally taxing. Great character development.

Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo
I wasn’t a big fan of this one. Although I do believe in heaven, something about this story didn’t sit right with me. It felt forced. This family did go through an incredible ordeal, though, and I’m glad their son is okay. The one thing that I learned from this book is to take your child to a children’s hospital if at all possible, not necessarily the closest and most convenient hospital.

The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult
Very well-written but emotionally draining. I could only take this book is small chunks because of the subject matter. I’m working on a full review.

Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcom Gladwell
This book talked about why certain people end up being so much smarter or more successful than the rest of us. Think Steve Jobs, The Beatles, or a musical prodigy. He argues that not all success is related to hard work, sometimes it just means being born at the right place, in the right time, with the right set of advantages.

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
When I was younger, I read Absolutely Normal Chaos by Sharon Creech, and I really enjoyed it. That novel features a character introduced in Walk Two Moons, so I always wanted to read this one as well; I just never got around to it. When I was looking for an audiobook to listen to in my car, I spotted this one at the library and checked it out. I think that my younger self would have enjoyed this book a lot, and my adult self did as well.

Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Some people liked this better than If I Stay. I did not. It was okay. I was glad for the closure from the first novel, however. I’ve heard that the audiobook is really neat, because you can actually hear snippets of Adam’s music rather than just reading the lyrics. My recommendation is to listen to the audiobook if you choose to read this.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
Two re-reads. Hubby was reading the series for the first time, and I needed to refresh my memory so that I could discuss it with him. After he finished each book, we watched the movies together, too.

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes
This was the first novel that I read by Jojo Moyes and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I listened to the audiobook, and I liked how each character’s perspective (it changed by chapter) was read by a different narrator.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 
I have a list of “bucket list” classics that I never got around to reading or never had to read for school. It was great to finally cross this one off my list. I alternated between the audiobook and a paper version. Although I enjoyed it, it felt very long. After I read it, I re-watched the film version from the 1990s. It’s one of my favorites. I tried to watch the film version from the 1930s, but Katharine Hepburn’s portrayal of Jo got on my nerves. Also, except for the actress playing Amy, they all seemed to be entirely too old to be playing teenage characters.

Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea
This is a middle-level children’s novel about students in a sixth grade classroom and their experience with their teacher that year. The novel changes point of view quite often, and it is interesting to see how the various characters experienced the events throughout the year, and how they are changed by them. I think this would be a great novel for 5th graders and up. I listened to the audiobook version and thought the narration was great.

Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn’t Cook from Scratch by Jennifer Reese
An interesting read. The author took the time to make from scratch everything from english muffins, to bacon, and even maraschino cherries. She then breaks down the price of store-bought vs. homemade to make a judgement as to whether it’s better to buy it or make it yourself. Although I appreciated some of the recipes and it was an interesting read, there is no way that I’d ever make my own bacon, or some of the other things in this book, no matter how much money it would save me.

What have you read so far this year that you’ve enjoyed?