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Archive for December, 2012

Year End Survey and Wrap Up

Posted by Caitie F on December 31, 2012

i love doing the End of Year Survey from Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner  every year. But first, here are some stats!

Books read: 100 – hit my yearly goal!
Pages read: 38,315 – thanks to A Song of Fire and Ice, beat last year by more than 2,000 pages!

Read for work: 31 – this number will probably go down next year
Read 1001 Challenge: 9
Read 1001 Children’s: 2
Read for pleasure: 68

YA books: 30

Time for the survey (click here for original survey post)

1. Best Book You Read In 2012? (You can break it down by genre if you want)

This will be the answer for a LOT of things The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. He is my favorite author and this book is amazing.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen  Thought this would be fantastic, but I found her so condescending towards young people.

 3. Most surprising (in a good way!) book of 2012? 

The Virgin Cure by Ami McKay. This was my second most recommended book of the year. I gave it to three people for the holidays!

 4. Book you recommended to people most in 2012?

Again, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. I gave this book to six people to read. I will continue to give that book to others!

5. Best series you discovered in 2012?

The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare. I read the entire series this year. It isn’t the best series ever and has flaws, btu it is really fun to read.

 6. Favorite new authors you discovered in 2012?

Ami McKay who wrote The Virgin Cure. I will read whatever she writes next!

Ernest Cline who wrote Ready Player One

Owen Laukkanen who wrote The Professionals 

7. Best book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you?

The Man Without A Face by Masha Gessen. This book changed my opinion on Russia. It is the best nonfiction book i have read and everyone needs to read it.

8. Most thrilling, unputdownable book in 2012?

A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin. Best book in the series!

9. Book You Read In 2012 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year:

Take A Bow by Elizabeth Eulberg. I adore every single book that Eulberg has witten and want to re-read them all in 2013, and I think this is my favorite one! If you have not read her books yet, you really need to. She is the future of YA and she is brilliant.

10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2012?


Didn’t love the book, but think the cover is beautiful!

11. Most memorable character in 2012? 

Josie from Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys. It comes out next year and it a fantastic book, mostly because Josie is my favorite character of the year – with Hazel from TFIOS by John Green as a close second!

 12. Most beautifully written book read in 2012?

Surprise, surprise, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. So beautiful!

13. Book that had the greatest impact on you in 2012? 

The Man Without a Face by Masha Gessen. I have never had a book change my mind about something like this book did.

 14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2012 to finally read? 

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen. It was my first Austen and I loved it!

15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2012?

“Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin,”  – from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

17. Book That Had A Scene In It That Had You Reeling And Dying To Talk To Somebody About It? (a WTF moment, an epic revelation, a steamy kiss, etc. etc.) Be careful of spoilers!

Prodigy by Marie Lu. It isn’t out yet but the END! Everyone needs to read it so we can talk about THE END!!

That is already out – Insurgent by Veronica Roth. This one was also the ending. It took the book up an entire star because it was so awesome and epic!

18. Favorite Relationship From A Book You Read In 2012 (be it romantic, friendship, etc).

Jennifer and Quark in The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

19. Favorite Book You Read in 2012 From An Author You Read Previously

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Seriously, if you haven’t read this book yet GO GET IT NOW!!

20. Best Book You Read That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else:

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde. My husband recommended it to me and I loved it!


1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2012 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2013?

Code Name Verity

2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2013?

For everyone else to read Out of the Easy

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging In 2013?

Read at least another 100 books!

Posted in Editorial | Tagged: | 2 Comments »

Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Posted by Caitie F on December 29, 2012

TItle: Just One Day12842115
Author: Gayle Forman
Hardcover: 368 pages
Pub Date: Jan 8, 2013
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

When sheltered American good girl Allyson “LuLu” Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.


If you have any urge to go to Europe but don’t have the funds, this book might be a little hazardous to your happiness. While you read it, you will be longing for Paris, London, and Amsterdam. You will want to travel the world and have adventures beyond your imagination. You will want to go have some “accidents” of your own. If you are content on having all of these in your mind, then this book will be great for you. But you will be longing for it a little too.

After reading the gut-wrenching If I Stay and Where She Went, I didn’t know what to expect. Those books tore my heart out a little, and I didn’t know if I was ready for that again. While there are parts that might crush your heart a tiny bit, this book is an uplifting and wonderful coming-of-age novel/romance. The romance was as swoon-worthy as Stephanie Perkins and the consequences broke my heart a little, that is before it filled me with hope and female empowerment.

This is not your typical young adult book. The first part takes place in the summer between senior year and college, then they rest takes place during the first year of college. I know that when I was in college, there was a lot in Allyson’s situation that I could relate to. I wish this boo had been around back then. You think it isn’t normal to dislike classes in a major that you had decided on years ago. You forget how hard it is to make new friends and everyone else seems to be just fine. It is a difficult time and I think there need to be more novels set in this time period.

Though if there was just one this would be the one!

The other great thing it does is it lets you look at the world and situations in more than one perspective. It is from Allyson’s perspective, but you get to see the world view of her friends, her boss, and her parents, which ends up surprising both Allyson and the reader. It won’t change your entire perspective on life, but it will allow you to look at self and life a little differently.

This really feels like a true young adult book. Maybe even a book that should be in this “New adult” book category. Allyson’s age has a lot to do with that as does the situations. There aren’t explicite sex scenes or anything, but it felt like it was written with the 16-28 year old demographic in mind. If this is what “new adult” is meant to be, bring it on!

This is just a wonderful book and I highly recommend it to lovers of Europe, Shakespeare, and good stories.

Posted in Review | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

The Daughters by Joanna Philbin

Posted by Caitie F on December 28, 2012

Title: The Daughters7129468
Author: Joanna Philbin
Hardcover: 288 pages
Pub Date: April 11, 2010
Publisher: Poppy
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

The only daughter of supermodel Katia Summers, witty and thoughtful Lizzie Summers likes to stick to the sidelines.

The sole heir to Metronome Media and the daughter of billionaire Karl Jurgensen, outspoken Carina Jurgensen would rather climb mountains than social ladders.

Daughter of chart-topping pop icon Holla Jones, stylish and sensitive Hudson Jones is on the brink of her own music breakthrough.

By the time freshman year begins, unconventional-looking Lizzie Summers has come to expect fawning photographers and adoring fans to surround her gorgeous supermodel mother. But when Lizzie is approached by a fashion photographer who believes she’s “the new face of beauty,” Lizzie surprises herself and her family by becoming the newest Summers woman to capture the media spotlight.

As Lizzie and her two best friends (and fellow daughters-of-celebrities) juggle normal high school events with glamorous family functions, they discover the pitfalls of fame and the importance of friendship


I was looking for a fun and fast book to end the year with and picked this one up. It looked like it would be entertaining and a little different from most YA books I read since it looks at a world that I often find irritating (i.e. the entitled characters of Gossip Girl).

Luckily, these characters and their stories were not irritating in the least. When I saw that it was read by Regis Philbin’s daughter, I was first weary, but I saw she has written several books. After reading the back of the book and seeing that it was about living with famous parents, I also saw that it was something that she would actually understand.

These characters are great. They are all thankful for what they have and struggle to find their own paths in life. Some happen to be good at what their parents are good at and struggle to take it in their own direction. urns out, when you parents are famous it can be even harder to relate to them and tell them what you want without being shot down – sometimes by them, sometimes by their publicists.

There is a cute romance and a lot of drama.

It is a really fun YA book with great characters and character growth. My only issue is that the books ends on a cliffhanger and doesn’t finish the story, something that always irks me in series. It should be a full book! That said, I will add the rest of the books to my to-read list. I won’t be grabbing them right away, but it will be a great series to go to when I want to read something fun and fast!

Posted in Review, Summer reads | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

Happy Holidays!

Posted by Caitie F on December 27, 2012

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and got to spend it with the people you love! We have had a wonderful time in Ohio with my family. We are actually staying an extra day thanks to the storm last night. It isn’t too bad here anymore, but out main road back to NJ is a mess, so we won’t be able to go back today. I was supposed to work tomorrow, but already emailed work – I am just glad I had a sick day left over so I still get paid!

Hopefully, it will be all clear tomorrow. It will mean my amazing and loving husband will have to drive on his birthday (he will be old enough to be the President!), but it is the only way we can get back for his birthday dinner with a bunch of our friends I hope it is worth it.

I feel bad because I don’t have anything for him – we aren’t getting each other birthday gifts. We are putting that money toward a trip to Vegas this spring hopefully! If that falls through because another storm hits and he loses his spring break, we are going to do a cruise in the summer! Well. hopefully we will go on a cruise regardless, but if Vegas falls through it will be a nicer cruise.

Happy holidays to all and safe travels! I am really excited to post the survey/yearly wrap-up on December 31st. Have to wait just in case I finish one more book!


Posted in holidays | 1 Comment »

Three More Mini-Reviews

Posted by Caitie F on December 23, 2012

I am so backed up with the reviews that I am doing a bunch of mini-reviews! So here are three more.

Title: City of Women13593526
Author: David R Gillham
Hardcover: 390 pages
Pub Date: August 7, 2012
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books
Rating: +++++

Short Summary:It is 1943—the height of the Second World War—and Berlin has become a city of women.

Sigrid Schröder is the model German soldier’s wife, but behind this façade is an entirely different Sigrid, a woman who dreams of her former lover, now lost in the chaos of the war. Her lover is a Jew.

Soon Sigrid is embroiled in a world she knew nothing about, and as her eyes open to the reality around her, the carefully constructed fortress of solitude she has built over the years begins to collapse. She must choose to act on what is right and what is wrong, and what falls somewhere in the shadows between the two. 


This book is just fantastic. It seems like there have been so many World War II books and there is nothing new, but this is a perspective we don’t often see – a German woman.

Sigrid is a very flawed character, but is written in a way that it is easy to sympathize with her and understand why she is the way the she. Nothing about her is perfect, but slowly she really starts to try to do the right thing no matter how hard it is.

I went into this book knowing very little and I loved it, so I don’t want to tell much about it to you. If you are intrigued by World War II stories and don’t mind some sex scenes, this is a book to pick up and get lost in.


Title: The Professionals11890809
Author: Owen Laukkanen
Hardcover: 370 pages
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Pub Date: March 29,2012
Rating: ++++

Short Summary:

Four friends, recent college graduates, caught in a terrible job market, joke about turning to kidnapping to survive. And then, suddenly, it’s no joke. For two years, the strategy they devise-quick, efficient, low risk-works like a charm. Until they kidnap the wrong man.

Now two groups they’ve very much wanted to avoid are after them-the law, in the form of veteran state investigator Kirk Stevens and hotshot young FBI agent Carla Windermere, and an organized-crime outfit looking for payback.


If you are looking for a fast thriller to read, this is a great choice. It is action-packed and can really speak to the generation that is having such a hard time finding jobs. It is not encouraging anyone to to do what they do – the consequences suck, but it makes you able to understand the initial ploy.

It has great characters from the four young people to the cop trying to bust them. They are frustratingly stupid at times, but at their core, they are so smart.

Usually you are cheering for the cops, but it is hard to choose who to root for. Yes, the four young people do horrible things, but you still kind of root for them.

It isn’t perfect. The writing is really good, but not great. There are some places where the plot is stretched a bit, but it was still a great read!


Title: The Yellow Birds13366259
Author: Kevin Powers
Hardcover: 226 pages
Publisher: Little Brown
Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2012
Rating: +++

Short summary:

In Al Tafar, Iraq, twenty-one-year old Private Bartle and eighteen-year-old Private Murphy cling to life as their platoon launches a bloody battle for the city. In the endless days that follow, the two young soldiers do everything to protect each other from the forces that press in on every side: the insurgents, physical fatigue, and the mental stress that comes from constant danger.


I liked the concept of this book and that it let the rest of us see what Iraq is like, bu I think it could have been better.

It felt like the author was trying too hard to be literary and poetic in a way that took away from the story and the real meaning and point of the book. It was too authorly.

It was nominated for many awards, but I think it was an average.debut and could have been better with more tiem and a deeper edit.

Posted in Review | 2 Comments »

Three Mini-Reviews

Posted by Caitie F on December 22, 2012

Title: August is a Wicked Month13577033
Author: Edna O’Brien
E-Book: 168 pages
Pub Year:  1965
Rating: +

Short summary:

Separated from her husband, and with her young son away on a camping trip, Ellen decides to flee her lonely London home, naively pursuing “a jaunt into iniquity” along France’s Mediterranean coast. But will she find the escape she longs for, or the entrapment she so deeply fears?


This is the worst book I read all year. Maybe it was feminist and great in 1965, but now it is cheesy and pathetic. It was incredibly predictable. I went into it knowing nothing and within the first five pages already knew what was going to be the turning point.

The only reason I finished the book is because it was so short. Stay away from this book unless you like annoying characters and ridiculous sex scenes!

Title: Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency358
Author: Douglas Adams
Hardcover: 247 pages
Pub Year: 1987
Rating: +++

Short summary: Detective Gently whizzes about the world, the universe, and time itself as a group of eccentric characters help him find an eccentric cat, solve a murder, and save the human race.


The problem reading anything by Douglas Adams is that it is automatically compared to  Hitchhiker’s Guide and nothing of his compares to that book.

That isn’t to say that it wasn’t enjoyable, it was, but my expectations were too high. Gently is a great character, btu doesn’t come into the novel until much too late. I awnted more of him and less of everythign else since he is the title character nad the name of the series.

It was still a funny and fast book that science fiction fans will enjoy!

Title: The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul862856
Author: Douglas Adams
Hardcover: 319 pages
Pub Year: 1988
Rating: ++++

Short summary: When a passenger check-in desk at London’s Heathrow Airport disappears in a ball of orange flame, the explosion is deemed an act of God. But which god, wonders holistic detective Dirk Gently? What god would be hanging around Heathrow trying to catch the 3:37 to Oslo? And what has this to do with Dirk’s latest–and late–client, found only this morning with his head revolving atop the hit record “Hot Potato”?

Review: I started this the day after I read the first one and I have to say I enjoyed it even more. It reminded me of American Gods only this was first and better. It was fun and I breezed through it. It also had one of the best opening lines.

The secondary characters were just as great as Dirk Gently in this one and it was more engaging and more fun. This is a great series and I am glad I read it!

Though I will say – these covers are terrible@

Posted in 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, Review | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

The Last Dragonslayer by Jasper Fforde

Posted by Caitie F on December 18, 2012

Title: The Last Dragonslayer13316328
Author: Jasper Fforde
Hardcover: 296 pages
Pub Date: Oct 2, 2012
Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books
Rating: +++++

Summary from goodreads:

In the good old days, magic was indispensable—it could both save a kingdom and clear a clogged drain. But now magic is fading: drain cleaner is cheaper than a spell, and magic carpets are used for pizza delivery. Fifteen-year-old foundling Jennifer Strange runs Kazam, an employment agency for magicians—but it’s hard to stay in business when magic is drying up. And then the visions start, predicting the death of the world’s last dragon at the hands of an unnamed Dragonslayer. If the visions are true, everything will change for Kazam—and for Jennifer. Because something is coming. Something known as . . . Big Magic


I am always looking for great middle grade books. My husband wanted to read it because he was a fan of Fforde’s other books.  When he finished this one a couple weeks ago, he knew I would like it.

He was right! This book is incredible! Jennifer Strange is likable, brave, and best of all, smart. She makes smart decisions and puts thought into everything, which is far too rare in middle grade and young adult books. She is the reason I read this book in only two sittings.

She isn’t the only great thing about the book though – it is just so creative! There is something new on every page. It isn’t the same tropes and ideas, which seems so rare in fantasy now, especially for books for younger readers. The writing is also spectacular. I reread some sentences more than once because they were just so wonderful!

It wasn’t perfect. I think some characters could have been more developed. But it is a series, so there could be more time.

Though it may be part of a series, this was a complete story in the first book, which is always a huge plus! If you are looking for a mddle grade book to read, or for a book to give your middle grade or young adult reader for the holidays, this is a fantastic choice!

Posted in Review | Tagged: , | 3 Comments »

A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash

Posted by Caitie F on December 11, 2012

Title: A Land More Kind Than Home12408149
Author: Wiley Cash
Hardcover: 320 pages
Pub Date: April 17, 2012
Publisher: William Morrow
Rating: ++

Summary from goodreads:

For a curious boy like Jess Hall, growing up in Marshall means trouble when your mother catches you spying on grown-ups. Adventurous and precocious, Jess is enormously protective of his older brother, Christopher, a mute whom everyone calls Stump. Though their mother has warned them not to snoop, Stump can’t help sneaking a look at something he’s not supposed to—an act that will have catastrophic repercussions, shattering both his world and Jess’s. It’s a wrenching event that thrusts Jess into an adulthood for which he’s not prepared. While there is much about the world that still confuses him, he now knows that a new understanding can bring not only a growing danger and evil—but also the possibility of freedom and deliverance as well.


When this book came out I was really excited to read it. The story sounded interesting and it was getting some good buzz. I am always looking for great debut authors, so I wanted to read it.

There were some aspects in the novel that made it very hard for me to like it. The church in it is one of those churches with the snakes, smothering to heal and speaking in tongues. Their methods are dangerous (two people died during a service) and while i am respectful of people practicing their religions, I think when people are in danger it is irresponsible and I cannot sympathize with any adults who have chosen to expose themselves and their families to it.

I also don’t think the book went in depth enough with why. Why did all of these people put themselves in danger since this wasn’t what their church used to do? Why would anyone, especially these relatively normal people, follow such a horrible person as their preacher? Why didn’t the the most rational character report the preacher when he threatened her? This all made the mystery a little weaker.

I also usually like flashbacks in books, but i feel like they weren’t done as well as it could have been. They felt random and it was sometimes hard to tell when it came back to the present.

If you really like southern fiction, this still might be for you, it just wasn’t a book for me. Though I have to say, I think the cover is gorgeous! I love the colors and it really stands out.

Have you been disappointed in any books you thought you would really like lately?


Posted in Review | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

The Island of Dr. Moreau by H.G Wells

Posted by Caitie F on December 10, 2012

Title: The Island of Dr. Moreau
Author: H. G. Wells
Softcover: 131 pages
Pub Year: 1896
Rating: ++++

Summary from goodreads:

A shipwreck in the South Seas, a palmy paradise where a mad doctor conducts vile experiments, animals that become human & then “beastly” in ways they never were before–it’s the stuff of high adventure. It’s also a parable about Darwinian theory, a social satire in the vein of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels & a bloody tale of horror

Mini Review:

I was really excited to read this book after reading The Time Machine. Wells was one of the original science fiction writers, so as I have started reading more and more science fiction, I have wanted to read where it all started.

This isn’t just a science fiction story though, it is also a horror novel. The creatures were scary, different and there was a little to leave to your own imagination.  There was action and danger, looks into morality and judgements. There are times the main character is very sympathetic, but looking at it from today’s perspectives and views, there are some views that are very different now, so it was hard to really like him much. Yet I had to remember that it was wirtten over 100 years ago and to judge people for feeling how most felt then isn’t so easy.

If you are looking for a fast classic to read that is exciting and a little scary this is a great one! I look forward to reading more by H.G Wells

Posted in 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, Review | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

What’s In a Name 6 Sign Up

Posted by Caitie F on December 9, 2012


This challenge is hosted by the amazing and wonderful Beth Fish Reads. I did this challenges a couple years ago, but skipped it last year. I thought it would be fun to read books on my to-read list that fit these categories! Here are the categories and my preliminary plans for what I want to read!

  1. A book with up or down (or equivalent) in the title:  Tales of the Madman Underground by John Barnes or
  2. A book with something you’d find in your kitchen in the title: Cards on the Table by Agatha Christie
  3. A book with a party or celebration in the title: 1225 Christmas Tree Lane by Debbie Macomber
  4. A book with fire (or equivalent) in the title: Circle of Fire
  5. A book with an emotion in the title: The Illicit Happiness of Other People
  6. A book with lost or found (or equivalent) in the title: Tuesday’s Gone by Nicci French

These all can (and probably will) change, especially as others start participating!

Are you participating?

Posted in Challenges | Tagged: | 2 Comments »