Tuesday, July 1, 2014

2nd Quarter Books

It seems a little sad that, for my 1st Quarter Books, I had six excellent titles, yet for my 2nd, I only have four. So the list doesn't look so meager, and in the spirit of fun summer reads, I'm going to highlight a few other interesting reads too, even if I wouldn't rate them as five stars or definite re-reads.

The Five Star Reads
2ndquarter
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. This book has been on my "to read" list since 2011, and I just now picked it up! I'm so glad I did, because it's so amazing and creative. I love that Riggs includes photographs with the story - it's so interesting to see pictures in a book that isn't for (young) children or inserts in a nonfiction book. I thought they might have been photoshopped, but there's a section in the back of the book that explains how Riggs found these photos. The story itself is incredibly interesting as well. Jacob is a sixteen-year-old boy who grew up hearing exaggerated stories about his grandfather's childhood. He's even seen pictures, but writes them off as fakes. After his grandfather dies, Jacob gets a chance to travel to the home where his grandfather grew up. It's hard to find, but once he does, Jacob learns the truth about his grandfather - and doesn't want to leave.

Extinction Journals by Jeremy Robert Johnson. The first Bizarro book I've read, and a great introduction into the genre. I read "The Sharp Dressed Man at the End of the Line," the short story this book is a continuation of, and I'd recommend other readers start with that as well, just because it really rounds out the whole story. Jeremy Robert Johnson is a skilled writer, and the book is filled with beautiful prose, despite being so dark - it's about the start of a nuclear World War III and the end of society as we know it. Dean has survived only because he made a suit of cockroaches who are helping him find safety. There is a lot of black humor in this book, and it's not as grotesque as a lot of Bizarro is rumored to be, so I'd recommend it to a wide variety of readers.

Confessions of a Slacker Mom by Muffy Mead-Ferro. I found this book by accident, and I'm so glad I did! Mead-Ferro is hilarious and laid-back, and shares my views on parenting. It was refreshing to read this so close to giving birth, and realize that I know what's best for my kid and family, regardless of how overprotective and over the top other parents may be, and how they may try to impose their views on me. The best thing I can say about this book, and the biggest compliment I can give it, is that she reminds me of Adam Carolla. They share a lot of the same views, though her approach is more level-headed instead of rant-laden. If she had a podcast, I would subscribe immediately. I've already ordered her other books.

The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh. Recommended to me by my mom, because she liked it but also because the author was pregnant when she wrote it, and has a Masters in Library Science - parallels to my own life right now! But I digress. Lucy is seventeen when her developmentally disabled friend Cheri is found cut into pieces and stuffed in a tree. Cheri had been missing for a year, but was written off as a runaway. Lucy never bought that explanation, especially once she finds some evidence that Cheri had been staying near their small, rural town. As Lucy learns more about Cheri's disappearance, she notices a lot of parallels between her own mother's disappearance, which happened when Lucy was a baby. This book isn't a major "whodunit" mystery, but the way it unfolds, and especially the ending, are very satisfying, and the whole thing is well-written. I look forward to reading a lot more from Laura McHugh.

Runners-Up

Famous Last Words by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski. Sam is interning over the summer at a local newspaper, covering the obituaries. She's sharing the beat with AJ, a cute musician, but can't see how good he is for her because she's obsessed with Tony, an intern in another department. On top of that, she's unofficially helping a reporter shake down the mayor, which means Sam spends a lot of free time following the mayor's car. This doesn't leave much time for her to hang out with her best friend Shelby, who she feels like she's been growing apart from anyway. Can Sam juggle all these different scenarios and still meet her goals to get a guy and be a successful journalist by the end of summer?

Panic by Lauren Oliver. Carp is a small town where there's not much to do, so the high school students made up a game called Panic. Everyone pays in, but only the seniors compete the summer after graduation. There's always at least $50,000 at stake, but each round of the game has higher and higher risks. It starts with everyone competing jumping off of a cliff into the water below, and ends with two cars facing off in a round of chicken. Everything in between is made up by two unknown judges. Heather and her best friend Natalie are competing for the money, but Dodge, who quickly becomes their friend, is more interested in revenge. Very suspenseful story, and I'm excited to hear that it's already been optioned for a movie. I think it's going to be a great, action-packed film.

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs. The second book of Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children. It took me a bit longer to get into this one than the first, but it's actually a really good follow-up. There is constant action and suspense, the original characters become more developed, and we meet a handful of new, interesting characters. As with the first book, there are pictures to accompany the scenes and characters - I think that's my favorite part of this series. This book takes place in London in 1940, but at the end, the time period changes, making me very excited for the next installment.

One Plus One by Jojo Moyes. I loved Jojo Moyes' Me Before You and have tried one of her other books, but it didn't grab me at the time. One Plus One, however, had me hooked from the beginning because every character had so much at stake. It was a little hard to follow at the start because so many character names were thrown in, but by the second chapter it was all sorted out and you knew who was who and who mattered. Jess is a single mom who works multiple jobs trying to provide for her children while her husband recovers from a nervous breakdown at his mother's. To get her pay, she has to tell off a client she cleans for, then later runs into him at her other job. Then runs into him again. And hates him, because he's so rich he doesn't even notice when $500 falls out of his pocket. But she notices. After reading this, I'm ready to give the other Moyes books a try again.

Love and Other Natural Disasters by Holly Shumas. Eve is eight months pregnant when she discovers that her husband has been having an affair. She kicks him out but has trouble finding support amongst friends and family because Jon was having an emotional affair, not a physical one. A lot of people don't think it counts as an affair since he didn't sleep with the other woman, but Eve feels betrayed all the same. This is an interesting spin on an affair story because Shumas is a marriage therapist, so it's not a fluffy read - there's a lot of interesting information to be learned.

If you want to see what else I've been reading, check out my Goodreads account.

2 comments:

  1. "It seems a little sad that, for my 1st Quarter Books, I had six excellent titles, yet for my 2nd, I only have four."

    Yeah, it's almost like you hardly accomplished ANYTHING the second quarter of this year. *headdesk*

    Bizarro is a genre?

    You have a masters in Library Science? I have a t-shirt you need. By which I mean I have a link to the shirt because I just gave my actual version of this shirt to the librarian in my life. http://www.topatoco.com/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=QC-BLINDED&Category_Code=QC

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    1. Haha ok, let's say I'm disappointed with the quality of the books I've read, now HOW MANY I've read.

      My boy is really into reading and writing bizarro so I'm giving it a try. Some of it is really good, and some of it...isn't. It ranges from being very sexual and violent and gory to being silly-strange, like Roald Dahl. I'm sure you can guess what kind I prefer! A lot of it is just strange and surreal though, especially what my boy writes. I'm not sure why it's its own genre instead of just being subcategorized, but I think you might like some of it. When I come across some I think you'll like, I'll recommend them on Goodreads or FB.

      I'm getting a masters in Library Science. As in, I started my first class four weeks ago, ha. It's been my dream since I was a kid, and I was going to go for it right after high school (well, was planning to, when I got to masters level), and then kept changing my course. I was going to apply after college, too, but then the MFA came up. So now FINALLY seemed like the perfect time, and I love it so far.

      I love that shirt too. Except...thanks for getting that song stuck in my head.

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