Thursday, December 27, 2018

#gretchensbooks2018 - December

In 2018 I read 26,921 pages in 79 books by 58 authors. This was by far the most I have read in any given year since I began keeping track of my books in 2015. The downside of teaching full time again is that it severely cuts into my free reading time, so I'm going to keep my goal for 2019 at 50!

Feel free to follow along with next year’s reads on Instagram using the hashtag #gretchensbooks2019, or add me on Goodreads!

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(Summaries are from Amazon, but all reviews are my own!)

76. A Sin Such As This by Ellen Hopkins (3/5 ★)

Tara thought she was finally settling down when she married the handsome Dr. Cavin Lattimore. Just as she was willing to overlook his gambling habits, she discovers his secret meetings with Sophia, his gorgeous ex-girlfriend and his son Eli’s occasional girlfriend. Life gets even more complicated when Tara’s niece, Kayla, starts hooking up with Eli. In a matter of weeks, Tara has reluctantly gone from rich, single San Francisco professional to Lake Tahoe housewife managing her niece’s whiplash moods, while resisting her stepson’s tantalizing sexual advances.

Adding to the family drama is her younger sister, Melody, who’s having a serious marital breakdown, which means she might know something about her husband Graham and Tara’s brief dalliance years ago. As Tara’s fragile trust in her family teeters, timed with the arrival of certain people from her past, she also can’t shake the feeling that someone’s watching her. Baiting her.

Tara has always considered herself a tough, self-made woman after surviving a childhood defined by poverty, abuse, and neglect. For years, she suffered from the sins of others. She committed a few of her own. Now she wonders if the misdeeds of her past are about to catch up with her—and if she can ever outrun them.

Ellen Hopkins came out with not one, but TWO new books this year! This one was the sequel to Love Lies Beneath which released in 2015.  I definitely prefer her teen stories to the adult ones, but I enjoyed this book just the same. Most of the book was pretty predictable, though there was a small bit at the end that I didn't expect.  I wish I would have re-read the prequel to this prior to reading it; perhaps then I would have enjoyed it more.

77. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by JK Rowling (5/5 ★)

Harry Potter is leaving Privet Drive for the last time. But as he climbs into the sidecar of Hagrid’s motorbike and they take to the skies, he knows Lord Voldemort and the Death Eaters will not be far behind.

The protective charm that has kept him safe until now is broken. But the Dark Lord is breathing fear into everything he loves. And he knows he can’t keep hiding.
To stop Voldemort, Harry knows he must find the remaining Horcruxes and destroy them.
He will have to face his enemy in one final battle.

Finally finished! Though I definitely enjoyed reading this series all the way through for the second time this year, I think I'm going to resolve NOT to read books I've already read in the new year.  It's hard to not want to read my worn in favorite stories, but my "to read" list on Goodreads is growing faster than I can keep up with it!

78. People Kill People by Ellen Hopkins (3/5 ★)

A gun is sold in the classifieds after killing a spouse, bought by a teenager for needed protection. But which was it? Each has the incentive to pick up a gun, to fire it. Was it Rand or Cami, married teenagers with a young son? Was it Silas or Ashlyn, members of a white supremacist youth organization? Daniel, who fears retaliation because of his race, who possessively clings to Grace, the love of his life? Or Noelle, who lost everything after a devastating accident, and has sunk quietly into depression? One tense week brings all six people into close contact in a town wrought with political and personal tensions. Someone will fire. And someone will die. But who?

My second Hopkins book this month, and third this year! This wasn’t my favorite book of hers; honestly, it probably isn’t even in the top 10. Though it semi-included the usual verse that she typically writes in her young adult novels, it wasn’t fully like I’m used to.  I also didn’t care for the second person narrative- written in the point of view of “violence,” speaking to each character. I appreciated the message, and as always, I appreciated the various stories within the book that all turn out to be connected in some way. If you haven’t read her books, I really do recommend most of them, just maybe not this one! (Also I own a copy of each novel, if you’re looking to borrow!)

79. Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn (3/5 ★)

Fresh from a brief stay at a psych hospital, reporter Camille Preaker faces a troubling assignment: she must return to her tiny hometown to cover the murders of two preteen girls. For years, Camille has hardly spoken to her neurotic, hypochondriac mother or to the half-sister she barely knows: a beautiful thirteen-year-old with an eerie grip on the town. Now, installed in her old bedroom in her family's Victorian mansion, Camille finds herself identifying with the young victims—a bit too strongly. Dogged by her own demons, she must unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past if she wants to get the story—and survive this homecoming.

I've been wanting to read this book for ages, since I read Gone Girl almost five years ago. I finally picked up this copy, as well as another of Flynn's books from McKay's this summer, and only just finally got around to reading it now. Morbid stories always sound like the perfect 7AM beach reads, amirite? Okay, well maybe not, but all the other books I was reading at the time were hardcover which aren't my favorite to stash in a bag. I enjoyed the book, but I didn’t love it. It was odd, not necessarily in a bad way, but it just wasn’t incredibly engaging. The ending was semi-predictable with a slight twist which I appreciated. I definitely preferred my first Flynn book, but I do have one more to read by her yet so hopefully I like it better!

Reading Challenge: 79/52 books read in 2018

Safe to say I succeeded my reading goal for this year- twice! (The first goal was 24). You can find previous book reviews here!

Please always feel free to leave recommendations in the comments below!

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