1. Andromeda Klein - Frank Portman (1/5/2010): In a word - strange. Andromeda Klein works through her grief in mysterious ways (at least I assume it's a working through of grief, but who knows). Her dad's a paranoid schizophrenic, her mom is just paranoid. Andromeda invests her entire soul into "weedgie", the occult, magick, etc. ad naseum. Except she has a "disorganization of collagen" in her ears, rendering her nearly deaf and prone to misunderstanding (discombobulation becomes action-population, which I approve). This is a strange book. Really strange. And I'm not sure what the point is, but someone surely does, I hope. The end.
2. Sea Change - Aimee Friedman (1/23/10): In a word - nostalgic. Tangentially, this book makes me want to watch The Secret of Roan Inish again. It's one of my favorite movies. The book isn't like the movie at all, except there are sea people and mystery. Sea Change is an acceptable YA read. There's the stereotypical budding romance between, in this case, the young teenage scientist and a mysterious boy who might just be a merman. You'll have to read to find our more. The end.
3. A Thousand Days of Wonder - Charles Fernyhough (1/26/10) : In a word - meandering. Fernyhough takes us on a journey following his daughter's first 1,000 days of existence. So far, the most memorable piece of information is that for the first six to seven months of our lives, we are all synesthetics, our senses intermingling such that we might see shapes as colors or hear sounds as tastes. The end.
4. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins (1/28/10): In a word - engaging. This is the 2nd book in a series. The first, Hunger Games, is mandatory reading. While a typical 2nd series book, Collins is engaging, her characters so very human (both likable and "hateable") and the pace fast. Seventy-five years ago, rebellion led to the oppression of 12 districts, the destruction of the 13th and the creation of an ignorant, vapid Capitol. Every year, as a reminder of their loss, each district chooses through lottery two tribute children, male and female, to send to the Hunger Games held in an arena in the capitol. They kill each other until one victor remains. Katniss is a victor from that game and her winning has led to a possible revolution. But who is friend and who is enemy? Well, I guess I'll have to find THAT out in the 3rd book, damn you Collins, damn you! The end.
5.Sea Glass, Maria Snyder (2/1/10): In a word - solid. 2nd books sometimes fail to live up to their predecessor's high standards (if the first book had high standards, that is) but this book does. You'll have to read Storm Glass to understand this book. It follows a glassmaker who has a very special ability that has her on the black list of the magical council and the bad guys. Much intrigue ensues. Sometimes the book is confusing because of a plot point that becomes a bit cumbersome towards the end...but still, another excellent Snyder book (I highly rec'd her Study series).
6. Eating Animals - Jonathan Safran Foer: (2/15/10 ): In a word - complex . Fact, chicken corpses are doused with chlorine (
you know, bleach). The USDA spends 500-600 million a year to promote meat, dairy and eggs yet only spends $150 million on promoting fruits and vegetables, even though we should be eating more of the latter and less of the former. This book is a good read, for sure, especially for people unfamiliar with the farming industry. I still found the wishy-washy message a little frustrating, but I realize this is an issue in which flexibility and realistic expectations must be granted due consideration. All that said, go vegan if you want to help the animals. :)
7. Gone - Lisa McMann (3/21/10): In a word - satisfying. This is McMann's 3rd and final book in her wake trilogy about a girl who can catch dreams. McMann is a sparse writer. I ended up liking this style. There is good character development. This book was probably my favorite of the series.
8. Captivate - Carrie Jones (3/22/10): In a word - cliffhanger! This is the second book in a series. This is the anti-Bella series in which the female lead isn't a wimpy, pathetic female who has to rely on the males in her life to shine. She shines on her own, dammit. There are pixies and shape-shifters and maybe some elves. There is romance and action and big choices to make and really they're all too young for it, but hey, this is a young adult book. I rec'd it, but start with the first book, Need, the ending of which I really didn't like but gets resolved (sorta) in Captivate.
9. Ash - Malinda Lo (3/26/10): In a word - refreshing! In the world of YA literature, the most popular books lean towards the Bella Swan's of female leads and creepy-stalker male leads. That isn't what I want young women to read. Ash is a spin on the Cinderella story, but no worries, there won't be any magical prince who "saves the day". This is about Ash's personal transformation, coming of age on her own terms. Ash saves herself. After losing her mother and father, Ash becomes the servant of her, yes, evil stepmother. She finds comfort in a fairy, Sidhean, who promises her peace and salvation if only she would come with him to the fairy world. But then she meets Kaisa, the King's Huntress, and a strong friendship forms, possibly something more. Who will she choose? I enjoyed this book immensely.
10. The Everafter - Amy Huntley (3/27/10): In a word - predictable. The story follows a girl who has died. She is in a place she calls the Is, which contains all the items she's lost in her life. Each item holds a memory. She has to piece together her memories, find herself, and figure out how she ended up dead. I thought the writing style was repetitive (she'd use the same adjective, for example, twice in two sentences - "I propelled myself forward" and a sentence later "the air propelled me forward"). It was a quick, easy read.
11. The Dead Tossed Waves - Carrie Ryan (4/24/10): In a word - disappointing. I really liked The Forest of Hands and Teeth. It was a disturbing look into how small communities might react to devastating events. It's definitely a dystopic, post-apocalyptic (in some ways) novel. This is its companion book. It did not go the way I wanted it to go. I like Ryan's writing and character development but, well, I wanted a conclusion to the first book that wrapped up the unanswered questions. Instead, it skipped several years and ended with me asking more questions. I can only assume a third book is in order.
12. The Third Angel - Alice Hoffman (5/2/10): In a word - circle. I love Alice Hoffman. A lot. She's one of my favorite authors. I can never describe her novels. They are beautiful and lyrical. They speak of love and loss. They always come full circle. I love that. It's always about your past, present, future and the unknown. I wish I was better at describing her and her books. But I suck. That is all.
13. The Ice Queen - Alice Hoffman (5/3/10): In a word - hopeful. Be careful what you wish for. That's how it opens. A girl, then woman, wishes things. They come true. She never wishes again. Lightning strikes and a new world opens up for her. There is fiery love, the kind that literally burns. There is the glacial love, the kind that runs cold and long. Her prose is beautiful.
14. Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (5/28/10): In a word - refreshing. I grabbed this book because it had been given rave reviews. My library didn't carry it, so I had to buy it. I won't say it was a disappointing read, but I won't claim it was a knock-me-off-my-feet read either. There is romance and there is fantasy, both subjects I enjoy reading. I didn't feel there was a lot of character development, but there was enough drama and plot development that kept it alive. Refreshing because the POV is male, effeminate male to boot. I appreciate that, even if it is not current cultural reality. Refreshing because the relationship is not based on creepy stalkers finding true love or needy girls surrounded by too much testosterone.
15. Blood Roses - Francesca Lia Block (6/6/10): In a word - short. “What shall we do, all of us? All of us passionate girls who fear crushing the boys we love with our mouths like caverns of teeth, our mushrooming brains, our watermelon hearts?” Block’s latest book, featuring eight new stories and one reprint, explores female sexuality with wild poetry and a sense of vulnerability that extends to the book’s cover, a discreetly posed nude photo of the author. The stories, which read with brief, flashing intensity, are more like dark, fantastical dreams than developed narratives. Block combines elements used in her previous books—predatory adults, threatened girls, a natural world that both harms and heals, and the terrifying, infinite power of the imagination—to create strange, evocative scenes filled with archetypal fantasy characters, L.A. teens, and sly social commentary. In “My Mother Is a Vampire,” a girl’s mother, struggling in a youth-obsessed culture, drinks her daughter’s blood to stay young. Source
16. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (6/8/10) - Alan Bradley: In a word - fun. It's the beginning of a lazy summer in 1950 at the sleepy English village of Bishop's Lacey. Up at the great house of Buckshaw, aspiring chemist Flavia de Luce passes the time tinkering in the laboratory she's inherited from her deceased mother and an eccentric great uncle. When Flavia discovers a murdered stranger in the cucumber patch outside her bedroom window early one morning, she decides to leave aside her flasks and Bunsen burners to solve the crime herself, much to the chagrin of the local authorities. But who can blame her? What else does an eleven-year-old science prodigy have to do when left to her own devices? With her widowed father and two older sisters far too preoccupied with their own pursuits and passions—stamp collecting, adventure novels, and boys respectively—Flavia takes off on her trusty bicycle Gladys to catch a murderer. In Alan Bradley's critically acclaimed debut mystery, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, adult readers will be totally charmed by this fearless, funny, and unflappable kid sleuth. But don't be fooled: this carefully plotted detective novel (the first in a new series) features plenty of unexpected twists and turns and loads of tasty period detail. As the pages fly by, you'll be rooting for this curious
combination of Harriet the Spy and Sherlock Holmes. Go ahead, take a bite. --Lauren Nemroff
17. Incarceron (6/20/10) - Catherine Fisher: In a word - good. From Booklist: "The vast prison Incarceron, made of metal and cutting-edge technology, was designed as a grand experiment: all undesirables would be sealed inside and given everything for a model utopia. But the experiment failed as Incarceron grew self-aware and tyrannical, resources dwindled, and prisoners divided into factions. Centuries later, prisoners exist under Incarceron’s watchful eyes with one belief: no one from Outside enters, no one from Inside escapes. Finn, however, believes he’s from Outside, and after he finds a crystal key that opens any door, he embarks on a journey to escape. Outside Incarceron, Claudia, the warden’s daughter, is also looking for escape, from an arranged marriage and from her role in a plot to end Protocol, which forces inhabitants to live according to seventeenth-century norms. When she too finds a crystal key, she comes into communication with Finn, who she believes is the true prince of the Realm. This gripping futuristic fantasy has breathless pacing, an intelligent story line, and superb detail in rendering both of the stagnating environments."
18. The Immortal Highlander (6/27/10) - Karen Marie Moning. In two words - guilty pleasure. nothing more to say about that. :)
19. Black Magic Sanction (7/10/10) - Kim Harrison
20. Angelology - Danielle Trussoni (8/2/10) - awful!
21. Hex Hall - (8/6/10) Rachel Hawkins
22. Dead in the Family (8/7/10) - Charlaine Harris
23. Bloodfever (8/8/10) - Karen Moning
24. Fire (8/15/2010) - Kristen Cashore
25. Dreamfever (8/21/2010) - Karen Moning
26. The String That Ties the Hangman's Bag (8/22/2010) - Alan Bradley
27. The Jane Austen Book Club - Karen Joy Fowler (9/5/2010)
28. A Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood (9/25/2010) - Few books leave me feeling drained of emotions, empty of tears. This is one of them. It's a book I desperately want to read again but must wait a loooong time to do it. I can't go through that emotional rollercoaster any time soon!
29. Melting Stones - Tamora Pierce (10/8/10): Disappointing.
30. Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins (11/5/10): Superb ending to an equally awesome trilogy.
31. Ellen Foster (reread) - Kaye Gibbons (12/23/10)
32. The Lost Dogs - Jim Gorant - 12/24/10 -
33. Siren - Tricia Rayburn (12/28/10)
34. Through a Dog's Eye - Jennifer Arnold (12/29/10)
35. Paranormalcy - Kiersten White (12/30/10)