Saturday, December 31, 2011

Complete List of Books I've Read in 2011

Books I’ve Read in 2011

1. The Devil in the White City – Erik Larson - 447 pages
2. Hocus Pocus – Kurt Vonnegut - 336 pages
3. Gone With the Wind – Margaret Mitchell - 960 pages
4. Galapagos – Kurt Vonnegut - 336 pages
5. The Clothes on Their Backs – Linda Grant - 293 pages
6. Lady in Waiting – Susan Meissner - 352 pages*
7. Octopussy and the Living Daylights – Ian Fleming - 128 pages
8. Water for Elephants – Sara Gruen - 335 pages
9. Strengths Finder 2.0 – Tom Rath - 183 pages
10. The Charlatan’s Boy – Jonathan Rogers - 320 pages*
11. A Fist in the Hornet’s Nest – Richard Engel - 272 pages
12. The Miracle of Mercy Land – River Jordan - 352 pages*
13. Skin Tight – Carl Hiaasen - 416 pages
14. Departures – Christy Miller - 208 pages*
15. God Bless You Dr. Kevorkian – Kurt Vonnegut - 96 pages
16. The Making of Hoosiers – Gayle L. Johnson - 240 pages
17. What Are You Waiting for? – Dannah Gresh - 192 pages*
18. Pretty in Ink – Karen E. Olsen - 320 pages
19. Ink Flamingos – Karen E. Olsen - 320 pages
20. The Missing Ink – Karen E. Olsen - 320 pages
21. Driven to Ink – Karen E. Olsen - 320 pages
22. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – J. K. Rowling - 320 pages
23. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – J. K. Rowling - 352 pages
24. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K. Rowling - 448 pages
25. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J. K. Rowling - 752 pages
26. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix – J. K. Rowling - 870 pages
27. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – J. K. Rowling - 652 pages
28. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – J. K. Rowling - 784 pages
29. The Stand – Stephen King - 1472 pages
30. How To Be Cool – Johanna Edwards - 368 pages
31. Sacred Cows – Karen E. Olsen - 304 pages
32. The Unoriginal Sinner and the Ice Cream God – John R. Powers - 448 pages
33. Eat Pray Love – Elizabeth Gilbert - 352 pages
34. Ruby – Francesca Lia Block - 224 pages
35. Guilty Pleasures – Laurell K. Hamilton - 329 pages
36. The Laughing Corpse – Laurell K. Hamilton - 304 pages
37. Circus of the Damned – Laurell K. Hamilton - 336 pages
38. The Lunatic CafĂ© – Laurell K. Hamilton - 384 pages
39. Bumped – Megan McCafferty - 336 pages
40. Divergent – Veronica Roth - 496 pages
41. The Harvest of Grace – Cindy Woodsmall - 352 pages*
42. The One-Day Way – Chantel Hobbs – 224 pages*
43. The Help – Katheryn Stockett - 464 pages
44. Secondhand Smoke – Karen E. Olsen - 272 pages
45. The Lost City of Z – David Grann - 448 pages
46. Mercy Come Morning – Lisa Tawn Bergren - 240 pages*
47. A Game of Thrones – George R. R. Martin - 720 pages
48. A Clash of Kings – George R. R. Martin - 784 pages
49. Raised Right – Alisa Harris - 240 pages*
50. The Halloween Tree – Ray Bradbury - 160 pages
51. Out of a Far Country - Christopher Yuan - 240 pages*
52. The Walking Dead Compendium One – Robert Kirkman - 1088 pages
53. Tamsin – Peter S. Beagle - 288 pages
54. Mine is the Night – Liz Curtis Higgs - 464 pages*
55. A Storm of Swords – George R. R. Martin - 1216 pages
56. The Christmas Singing – Cindy Woodsmall - 208 pages*
57. The Dragons of Chiril – Donita K. Paul - 416 pages*
58. A Feast for Crows – George R. R. Martin – 1104 pages
59. A Sound Among the Trees – Susan Meissner – 336 pages*
60. The Canary List – Sigmund Brouwer – 304 pages*
61. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson – 672 pages
62. Fundamentals of Collection Development and Management – Peggy Johnson – 335 pages**
63. Reference and Information Services in the 21st Century: An Introduction – Kay Ann
Cassell – 429 pages**
64. A Dance With Dragons – George R. R. Martin – 1040 pages
65. The Girl Who Played With Fire – Stieg Larsson – 752 pages
66. The Scroll - Grant R. Jeffrey and Alton L. Gansky - (still reading)

Total pages read: 28,173
Average 1 book every 5 days
Averaged 77 pages a day

Of those 15 were received for free (ones with the asterisks) and I reviewed them on amazon and my blogs:

** Textbooks (and yes I really did read all the chapters)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

If You're a fan of Dan Brown... You Won't be of this

I enjoy conspiracy theory as much as the next guy, but Sigmund Brouwer's, "The Canary List," just doesn't quite do it for me. This review may start out horrible, but in all honesty, it gets a whole lot better towards the end.

"The Canary List" is the story of young 12 year old girl, Jaimie, who can feel darkness coming for her, she can literally feel the presence of evil. As a foster child, she trusts no one except her psychiatrist and her teacher and after an exceptionally hard night she turns to her teacher Mr. Grey for help and gets him in a world of trouble. A chain of events is set in motion and in order to clear his name, win back his son, and help Jaimie, Mr. Grey must get to the bottom of whatever Jaimie's "gift" is, and why the Vatican is trying to get involved.

The plot has too many twists and turns to list in such a small review, but I can guarantee you it is indeed a roller coaster ride. I started off hating the book until about page 100. After that I became hopelessly addicted, and I too, wanted to discover Jaimie's gift and figure out why the Vatican needed her help. If you can bear to have a slow start then I recommend this book. It's not nearly as complex as Dan Brown's work but it around the same ally.

Oh and one other thing, the ending is superb which alone makes up for the fact that the book starts off by being so droll and weird. Just wait til you learn what the canary list really is!

"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review"

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

For the Love of... Wulder?!?!

I am about to share with you (drumroll please) one of the worst books that I have read this year. Worst might even be an understatement, it's just that... bad. The Dragons of Chiril by Donita K. Paul sounded promising enough. Donita K. Paul has written a handful of other dragon books and the cover of this novel boasted, "a fantastic journey of discovery for all ages." It was a journey all right, but it was not in the least bit fantastic!

This novel follows young Miss Tipper, her long lost father (who left when she was 5 but has come back through a weird portal and know disappears and reappears randomly), a giant parrot named Beccaroon (really?!?!), an aspiring young artist who is a big fan of Verrin Schoop's (Tipper's father) artwork, a grumpy old wizard, and an even grumpier and crazy librarian. This rag tag team comes together to go on a quest to find three of Schoop's lost sculptures in order to reunite them and fix the portal that Schoop is stuck in. It's a pretty ridiculous plot that maybe possibly could have worked out, but fails miserably. Throughout the story and their quest, and all their little trials they become closer and also get closer to Wulder (the all knowing, powerful thing? Like God? Who knows...).

Overall, this story isn't worth anyone's time. None of the characters are likable or memorable, the plot is slow, silly, and drawn out, and the story is overall... boring! I wanted to stop reading after the first 20 pages, but the good little reviewer I am toughed it out and read it to the end (what a waste!). If you value your time you'll pass on this ridiculous book!

Oh, and a happy thanksgiving to all!!

“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Over the Top, But in a Good Way

It's getting cold and snow is on more than just people's imagination. It's coming. That being said, winter is my favorite time to read. I love curling up with a book in front of the fireplace. It just feels right. Mine is the Night by Liz Curtis Higgs fit the right criteria. Christian romance isn't normally my cup of tea, but Higgs paints the emotions of her characters on beautifully, it's hard not to get at least a little swept up in the story. The novel follows you Elizabeth Kerr and her mother-in-law, Marjory, as they find shelter in Skelkirk with their cousin, Anne. The two young women have lost all, Marjory's sons (and Elizabeth's husband) were killed fighting with the Jacobites on the wrong side of King George. They lose their titles, land, possessions, and money and are forced to Skelkirk to live with a poor cousin. The three become close and all have budding romances: Marjory with her former manservant, Gibson, Anne with the local tailor, and Elizabeth with her wealthy employer, the Admiral. The story is quite long and takes a while to develop, but overall I can't fault the author for beautiful prose and character development. A pretty good read, especially for this time of year.

“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Out of the Closet and into the Church

This week's book, Out of a Far Country: A Gay son's Journey to God. A Broken Mother's Search for Hope by Christopher and Angela Yuan was a surprise feel good book. I stayed up til 2 in the morning last night because I was unable to put this book down which came as a huge surprise to me. I'm not going to lie when I received this book I was dreading reading it, it looked like another cliche "I stopped being gay for God" book. I really had no desire to read it. But once I started it sucked me right it. Each chapter is told through either the eyes of Christopher or his mother and it is interesting to see each of their different perspectives on the situation. When Christopher, Angela's youngest and closest son, tells his family that he is gay, she leaves him an alternative, to accept the family or the homosexuality. Christopher chooses his homosexuality and leaves home because he is tired of living a double life. Angela decides that she has failed as a wife and mother and plans to go visit Christopher one last time in Atlanta before killing herself. Her train ride down to Atlanta though takes an interesting turn when she picks up some christian literature and finds God. She accepts Christopher for who he is and makes it her life's goal to transform her husband's and her sons life through Jesus Christ. The story chronicles Angela's spiritual journey and Christopher's spiral into the gay community, into the HIV+ community, and finally into the drug community where he becomes a minor drug lord and ends up having to serve a few years in jail. While in jail his parent's badgering about Christianity slowly begins to take its toll and he becomes a completely different person. He decides that being homosexual wasn't what defined him and that God didn't hate gays, He only hated the act that gays performed. Christopher decides to remain celibate and to spread the word of God to the gay community and to anyone who listens. He still currently gives talks, lectures, and teaches, he hurries along before the AIDS makes him incapable to do so anymore. It was truly an awe inspiring story and I appreciated that it didn't have the usual "God hates fags" theme going on. I would definitely recommend this book. It is a fantastic read.

“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Faith and Politics: an Often Fatal Combination

I feel like it's been forever since I last posted, sorry for the delay!

This month I reviewed, Raised Right: How I Untangled My Faith from Politics, by Alisa Harris a short quirky memoir about coming to terms with living out her faith. Alisa Harris grew up picketing abortion clinics, going to republican rally's, and debating her fellow home-schooled friends. She thought that being politically active was the best way to live out her conservative christian faith. As she gets older however she begins to realize that maybe no matter how hard you try you can't change the world if you're hiding behind your signs. You have to live it out in your actions every single day.

Overall, I felt that this was a very poignant well-written, and inspiring memoir, it's perfect for the ultra-religious, the non-religious, the politically savvy, the non-political, it's just really great for everyone. The stories that Alisa shares from her childhood are funny, sad, serious, inspiring and fulfill every emotional pull that you could possibly combine in a book. I would recommend this book to anyone, it illuminates an important aspect of our culture and tries to make sense of our hectic society. In an age where Jonesbro Church members picket army funerals and harass the public this book attempts to come to terms with this era's culture warriors. A must read for everyone!

“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Mercy Come Morning

I was finally able to find some free time this weekend to sit down and read some books. I finished The Lost City of Z which was a fantastic must read novel and Mercy Come Morning an alright book that I would probably never read again. Mercy Come Morningis the tale of woman having to come to terms with her mother who is dying from alzhiemers. Krista comes back to her hometown to settle things with her mother and to spend some time with her old high school beau. Of course Krista has to overcome many obstacles such as forgiving her mother for neglecting her as a child and learning to trust herself around Dane. Thankfully, the Lord is on her side and gives her the courage to face her trials. Overall, this book is sappy and everything turns out like it's supposed to. It's a good read for those who know people going through Alz and having to cope with it's affects. It's not anything that I would ever re-read or reccomend though.

“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Shoo Fly Don't Bother Me

When my copy of The Harvest of Grace by Cindy Woodsmall arrived I have to admit that I wasn't too thrilled to start reading it and it wasn't because there was a farm and a wistful looking young woman in Amish garb adorning the cover. I honestly just don't do well with religous romantic novels. In this book's defense though it wasn't nearly half as bad as I thought it would be. The novel doesn't just have one main character or even two. It has about 10 and it even comes with a character guide in the back. Basically a bunch of single Amish men and women overcome many obstacles in order to be together. Instead of their plain lifestyle being a challenge they have to learn to trust God completely in order to be with the ones they love. As mentioned, the novel focuses on many different characters. First there is, Sylvie, a young woman who flees her home and family to work on a dairy farm miles away after making a mistake she can't bear to face. Then there is Aaron, a recoverin alcoholic who comes back to his his parents to seek a new life  and forgiveness, while home he encounters their new farm hand Sylvie and the attraction starts. Next is Cara, a young mother who fled a life in the big city of New York and from an abusive stalker. In Amish country she finds solace and true love in Ephraim. I could list off all the charaters and their troubles but that would take nearly as long as reading the story yourself. It isn't a bad read either. I'd give it a shot. First impressions aren't always a good thing, I'm glad I tried reading it. It proved that all religious romantiv novels aren't as ... obnoxious as I like to think they are :)

“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Suprisingly Simple

The One-Day Way by Chantel Hobbs wasn't exactly rocket science, but its simplicity is still empowering. Chantel doesn't promise all the hidden keys to success, she outlines the major one that stares everyone in the face, all we need to do to be happy and content, is to live each day to the fullest and to not look back on our faults and slip ups. If we take it one day at a time then we will be happy with our lives in no time. It's a great concept, it's just so damn simple. I was expecting something with a little more substance. I'm not doubting that this truth is empowering and helpful to our lives but at the same time I am boggled at how she turned this tiny revelation into an entire book. Impressive. This book wasn't bad, but wasn't great either. It prompts you to take action with your life, but at the same time I felt it was a little lacking. I think that it's one of those books that everyone will react to differently. Regardless if its a New York Times Bestseller or not, it still worth the read.

Hope everyone is having a happy summer. My grad school starts in a mere three weeks. Scary!

“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Libraries and Facebook

The Johnson County Public Library is pleased to announce that it has a fully functioning facebook page accessible to all library patrons, facebook users, and visitors. The page will be used to promote and advertise upcoming library events and programs via online calendars and reminders, share pictures and videos from previous activities, and to share new items that have entered into the library's circulation. The site is easy to navigate and was created in the hopes that the younger generation and the technologically savvy will have an easy way to stay connected with the library, a central hub in every community. The library facebook site has many different features that will be sure to interest everyone. Videos, blogs, news updates, calendar of upcoming events, photos, contests, links to library related web pages, and much much more.
 For more information please visit the Johnson County Public Library's Facebook page:!/pages/Johnson-County-Public-Library-Indiana/236886676250

Or my wikispaces page:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Never Judge A Book By It's Cover

Words cannot describe how suprised I was when I got the mail today and my newest book What Are You Waiting For? The One Thing No One Ever Tells You About Sex by Dannah Gresh arrived. Great I thought, some kooky religious book about why even kissing before marraige is bad. Just what I want to read this summer. I flipped to the first page to skim over what nonsense I had in store for me and two hours later I found myself reading the acknowledgments. What?!? I had read the whole thing in one sitting? I couldn't put the book down, I literally sat at my desk engrossed in this book and dead to the world. This book was mesmerizing and an absolute must read for anyone. Mrs Gresh talks about religion and sex and it really revolutionized how I viewed it. She wasn't one to shy away from any hard topics and even discusses: porn, masturbation, and homosexuality (although I loved the book, I still don't agree with all of her viewpoints towards homosexuality, still a little bit narrow minded for me). Her quest to finding the life changing truth about sex is amazing and inspiring. It causes one to think more critically about our fast paced sex crazed culture and evaluate how it affects our relationships. I can't rave enough about this book. What a total suprise. I expected to hate it and I ended up loving it, what a read!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Young at Heart

I didn't really realize until I started reading, that Departures: Two Rediscovered Stories by Robin Jones Gunn was a teen novel, so I was in for a treat. It was like going back in time to middle school. Even though the book was a little out of my age range, I still thoroughly enjoyed it however.

Departures consists of two short stories about two very different fifteen year old girls. The first story focuses on Christy Miller as she travels with her family to her grandparents small town to celebrate their fiftieth wedding anniversary. While there she encounters her old crush and begins to reevaluate herself and her relationship with this boy and with God. As she gets closer with her old crush she really begins to discover what's important to her and what she wants out of life.

The second short story focuses on Sierra Jensen as she vacations with her friend's family. She and her overly competitive friend discover that its more important to deepen their relationship with each other and with God, rather than chasing boys and getting into trouble.

Overall, this book was a fast read. It was a little predictable and a little churchy for me, but the writing was great and the characters realistic. A great read for middle schoolers.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Never Judge a Book by it's Cover...

As my undergraduate career draws to a close, I've found less and less time to read for enjoyment as my hectic school and work schedule gets more and more intense. As a result it took me a while (a week!), but I was finally able to finish reading The Miracle of Mercy Land by River Jordan. Unfortunately, I was deceived by its eye catching cover. The book was nowhere near as exciting as the cover initially led me to believe. Jordan's book is about a young girl and trusted newspaper editor who come across a mysterious book that allows the reader to see all the life choices made by themselves and their town mates. The storyline may sound slightly interesting, but trust me it wasn't. The plot is confusing, the mysterious book is lame, and the evolving love story is pathetic. Not too mention that the historical accuracy of the period was a complete and utter sham. The book is set in the late 1930's and you mean to tell me that a young girl is off living by herself and becoming editor of a city paper? That and she drives her own car and wanders all over by herself... in the south?? No way Jose, not buying it. Overall, this isn't the worst book I've ever read, but it's pretty darn close. I wouldn't recommend this book to anyone... ever, no matter how much I hated them. Hoping that my next book doesn't make me wanna gouge my eyes out...

Happy reading!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Book Review - Take 2

I began reading The Charlatan's Boy by Jonathon Rogers with high hopes, but I soon discovered that this book was anything but great. This story is about a young boy, Grady, who travels from town to town in the Corenwald frontier with a huckster named Floyd pulling a variety of hoaxes and side shows to make money. Grady, an orphan, has never known any family so he has had to rely on Floyd and his schemes in order to create some sort of an identity. Grady tries to base his life around whatever flam that Floyd is pulling and it ultimately confuses him. He has no friends or family to rely on, he just has Floyd, who never really regarded Grady's feelings or needs. The story seemed like it would pull together, but it was very... elementary and simple. I never felt invested in any of the characters or their schemes. It was an all right read and it went by fast, but it's definitely not something I would ever re-read.

I've just started reading A Fist in the Hornet's Nest by Richard Engel, NBC's chief foreign correspondent and so far it is already 10x better than The Charlatan's Boy.

Happy reading!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Slacking, A National Phenomenom

Well it's been far too long since my last post and for that I apologize. I'd like to say I had a really good reason or excuse to be absent for over a month, but really I must have just gotten lazy. Per usual. I've missed out on writing about the blizzaster, classes starting, the superbowl, and the rest of my generally boring life. So maybe in actuallity you didn't really miss out on all that much... maybe I was really doing you a favor?? Haha, I wish, I'll just stick with lazy, much more believable.

But anyhoo, the true purpose of today's blog, is to share an awesome book that I was privlidged to read when I was iced in during the blizzaster last month. Lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner happened to be one of the best things about being cut off from the rest of the world and locked in my dorm. It was soo good. I couldn't put it down. I was a little sketchy about it at first, because it is a romance novel and it has a historical background, and there is nothing I hate more in the world than historical fiction that isn't all that historical and is based on "imaginary" facts. Here I was plesently suprised. The entire novel isn't set in 16th century Britain, half of it is set in present day Manhattan. The book alternates chapters between a forty something year old antique dealer, Jane, who is going through a marital crisis and is trying to piece together what has happened to her and a young seamstress, Lucy, who is a dressmaker to a noble family hoping to marry their daughter with the king. Both are going through some major trials in their lives and are trying to grow and learn from them. When Jane finds an antique ring embedded in an old prayerbook she begins a journey of discovering the mystery of the ring and discovering a little bit more about herself as well. Like I said, I'm not a huge romance nut, but I finished this book in less than a day and it wasn't overwhelmingly romantic or sleazy or anything like that. It was a good light romantic and historical read. It was really intriguing to see how the two different stories interweaved together even though they were centuries apart. I would highly reccomend this book and if any of Susan Meissner's other books are half as good as this one, I would definitely reccomend them as well. I know that I've personally inter-library loaned them in and I'm sure I won't be disappointed.

Well that about does it for this lovely little book rant :) I enjoyed this book a great deal and I hope that someone else gets as much enjoyment out of it as I did as well.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Monday, January 10, 2011

A New Beginning?

Everyone seems to jump on the bandwagon and start something new every January, so what the hell, I'll start a blog.  I'll apologize in advance because I don't think that it will be nearly as entertaining as I think it's going to be.  My sense of humor generally only comes across as funny to myself.

But oh well, I'll still take a stab at the blogging phenomenon. There is however another motive for doing this whole blog thing besides my "new years resolution" and that my friend is free books (I know, I'm a dork). My real ulterior motive is to score free books by reviewing them on my blog. I'm a poor college student who loves to read and what better way to score some free books than blogging book reviews (besides prostituting myself of course)?

I promise I'll do more than give crappily written reviews on books that probably no one besides myself and a few other book nerds might ever read in their lifetime.  I'll try and update on my ridiculously crazy life and hopefully someone else (besides myself) can get some amusement out of my pathetically dull life.

Farewell for now!