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Monday, November 03, 2014

Books of October 2014

October is over! What happened?! My month included TWO work trips to Dallas (and an overnight, unplanned stopover in Charlotte), lots of craft beer, an Ohio State football game vs. Rutgers (Welcome to the Big 10, guys!), a weekend trip to Cincinnati, a killer Halloween party, a 5K PR, and a half marathon PR.

Unlike September, I read REAL books in October and I stopped listening to audiobooks. I needed a break and switched to podcasts... and then, silence. In fact, my two PRs were completed without any audio narration. Just me, my thoughts, and heavy breathing.

Currently, I'm wrapping up Amy Poehler's Yes Please and getting ready to plow through six library books that came in at the same time. (Luckily, a few of those are graphic novels.)

Let's have a look at October's books:

Finished October 3, 2014
by Kristin Newman

Review: 4 / 5 
I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway. Probably my favorite win to date. Better than expected. It was nice to read a memoir written by an actual writer. 

I was afraid this would go one of two ways: 1. Preachy: "I am so much better than my married friends with children. Not only can I do whatever I want, but I don't have to worry about gross kids. Ew" or 2. Sad: "I do these great things, but I am soooo lonely and single!!" Luckily, it avoided those clich├ęs. 

Newman seems like a very well-adjusted and self-aware woman. She is a relatable narrator with an enviable job that allows ample time off for world travel. While I wish there was a bit more advice about feeling safe when traveling alone, her stories kept me entertained and built upon one another in a logical manner. I'd definitely read another book by Newman. 

Read October 8, 2014
by Daniel Abraham (Adapter), Tommy Patterson (Artist), George R.R. Martin

Review: 5 / 5 
Nice to read this after watching Season 1. I was able to follow the characters and history pretty well on the show, but this was a helpful review before beginning Season 2. 

As always, I loved the making of section at the end. The fact that it included the editor, adaptor, illustrator, and mentions of the author was pretty awesome. I'm excited to read the next one because they teased more behind the scenes info. I'll probably hold off until the end of season 2 as there may be some spoilers... [I have since finished season 2.]

Finished October 8, 2014
by Gary Paulsen

Review: 4.5 – 5 / 5 
I'm a sucker for Hatchet, the Brian books, and woodland survival. I'm not sure I'd actually want to be stranded alone in the woods for days/weeks/months, but I enjoy reading books like this and giving myself a false sense of security (superiority) in regard to my potential (inevitable) survival. 

Gary Paulsen is a wild dude. He has lived many lives with crazy experiences and this only scratches the surface. 

If there is some type of apocalypse that does not affect woodland creatures, I will carry this book as my Bible.

Finished October 18, 2014
by Tasha Alexander 

Review: 4.5 – 5 / 5 
I started and finished this on one of my Texas trips. I'm a sucker for the historical mysteries found in Tasha Alexander's Lady Emily series. I adore classic books from 1810-1910 and while these are new, they keep me immersed in my favorite century. 

I devoured this until the "bad guy" reveal. It was perhaps one of my favorite Lady Emily mysteries because of the back and forth between past and present, the location, and the characters she met along the way, including Donata. I'm pretty bummed by the strange side plot at the end, but I'm sure Emily and Colin will make it work... Right? (Ugh.) 

Finished October 21, 2014
by Stephen King 

Review: 3 / 5 
Overall, this was an intriguing story but poorly executed (for a Stephen King novel). It wasn't terrible, but it definitely felt like his early work and was a little grimy. That may have been intentional, but it read like a teenage boy's idea of tough guys in the future. 

Again, the story is solid - especially now that dystopian novels are all the rage - but something was missing. I cannot imagine Arnold in the title role and I'm sure the movie is terrible, but I'll watch it. [I have it checked out from the library right now...] 

Finished October 27, 2014
by Sarah Dessen

Review: 4 / 5 
Another enjoyable $1 find. It was a relief to get away from the popular-mean-girl or hopeless-geek-girl narrators found in my most recent YA selections. I didn't roll my eyes once! Ruby started out a little gritty; definitely messy. Where The Impossible Knife of Memory (Laurie Halse Anderson) got a little blahhhh as it went on (I did not care about the characters), I thought this novel did a nice job of "keeping it real" while providing a realistic portrayal of Ruby's evolving outlook on life. 

I would love to see this as a movie. I think that uptight lady from Breaking Bad would make an interesting Cora (even if she's at least 5 years too old).

[I've been told countless times to read Sarah Dessen and this is my second novel of hers. I enjoyed this so much more than the other (Just Listen). It felt nice to read something I didn't want to put down!]

Read October 29, 2014
by John Green

Review: 3 / 5 
This was released as a perk for donating to Project for Awesome. It was marked as a "sneak peek" but it's definitely not from John Green's next book (whatever that will be). The Space is short, quick, and full of soccer. It was pretty entertaining, but there wasn't much plot that could go past a short story, so it feels a little unfair to give this a higher rating than his full books. The Cat and the Mouse is a "story" from when he was 5 and was absolutely space-filler. Also, the vocabulary seemed a bit advanced for a 5 year old... even if it is John Green. 

Read October 29, 2014
by Jodi Picoult

Review: 4 / 5 
I've never read a Jodi Picoult book, so when I saw this short story for free in the Kindle store I thought I'd give it a shot. I see why JP is so popular. The story was easy to read, but very well done. Short and sweet. In fact, I loved the mystery and the main character so much and I am upset it ended when it did! I'm a little perturbed it didn't have a real ending. Perhaps it will be wrapped up in her next novel (even though Serenity isn't the main character). 

By the way, the excerpt from her next book (Leaving Time) was intriguing. I may read a full JP book soon.... 
- - - - - - - -

For the most part, these reviews were ripped from my Goodreads. 

What did you read in October? 
What are you reading now? 

What I'm looking forward to: Finishing Yes Please, reading both Rookie Yearbooks Two and Three, and finally getting back to House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. (I haven't read it for two months! Perhaps my goal should be finished it before the end of 2014...?) 

See more Book of the Month features. And, as always, be my friend on Goodreads!

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