O Angelina

A Girl and Her Dog: Living, Loving, & Enjoying the Little Things

I read a lot of books in 2014. Holy smokes! 

Abbott, Megan. The Fever. (Little Brown and Company 2014). 

  • I read this book the month it came out because it seemed to be featured everywhere I love. It was a good read, but the story line was the-Salem-witch-trials-met-the-HPV-vaccine. There are so many dumb high school students that reading it was like watching a dog cross a busy intersection; you want to stop looking, but you can't. 

Adler-Olsen, Jussi. The Purity of Vengeance (Department Q, #4). (Dutton Adult 2013).

  • I love Scandinavian crime fiction. If you liked Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, you'll enjoy the Department Q series. This most recent book is not a let down; Carl Morck and his quirky team are entertaining as always. 

---. The Marco Effect (Department Q, #5). 

  • Half-way through! I'm actually thinking of restarting it because I love it so much... Assad and his cliches! 

Atkinson, Kate. Life After Life. (Back Bay Books 2014). 

  • This is a fantastic book, especially for writers and book-lovers. It follows Ursula through a series of possible lives all intermingling with the historical events of the 20th century. I very much agree with Francine Prose's NY Times review

Baggott, Juliana. Burn (The Pure Trilogy, Book 3). (Grand Central Publishing 2014). 

  • If you liked The Hunger Games and Divergent, you need to read Baggott's Pure Trilogy. Another post-apocalyptic YA series, this one is the most intelligent and original. 

Browning, James. The Fracking King. (Little A 2014). 

  • This is a quirky book! I got in Amazon's first reads program, and (like many of the books I've found) it's endearing. This is a YA novel about a Scrabble-playing young man who through a fracking-funded scholarship. His quest to convince the governor to end fracking through winning a Scrabble tournament is a good read. 

Brunt, Carol. Tell the Wolves I’m Home. (The Dial Press 2012).

  • As a child during the AIDs epidemic of the 1980's, this YA novel helped me understand much of what I saw but didn't understand as my second cousin died of AIDs. The main character's relationship with her uncle's partner helps her deal with loss and bring solace to her family. 

Cash, Wiley. A Land More Kind than Home. 

  • This is a very Southern book. I liked some of the issues it brought up about religion and ideology, but I couldn't quite connect to all of the characters. 

Chance, Megan. Inamorata. (Lake Union Pub. 2014).

  • Historical fantasy... The best aspect of this book is that it doesn't give too much information away too quickly. Just enough of the plot is shown to the reader to make him/her keep reading. My least favorite part is that the female leads are stereotypical: one is a Madonna and the other a Jezebel. 

Creech, Morri. The Sleep of Reason. (Waywiser P 2013). 

  • I love Morri's writing. He's a close friend and mentor, and of course, this book was a finalist for the Pulitzer so you should read it. 

Creech, Sarah. The Season of the Dragonflies. (William Morrow 2014). 

  • My review for Friends of Atticus will come out in a few months! 

Cuello, Jessica. By Fire. (Hyacinth Girl P 2013). 

Diaz, Junot. The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. (Penguin Audio 2007). 

  • Everyone should read this, if you haven't already. I enjoyed it!

Duhamel, Denise and David Lehman, eds. The Best American Poetry of 2013. (Scribner Poetry 2014). 

  • Best American Poetry never disappoints, and I love Duhamel's selections even more than I love her poetry (which is a lot). 

Eliason, Morgans. Brainwork for Smart Dogs. 

  • If you love dogs, read this book. Done. 

Fuller, J. Bruce. Notes to a Husband. (Imaginary Friends P 2013). 

Galbrath, Robert. Cuckoo’s Calling. (Mullholland Books 2013).

  • Yes, this is actually by J. K. Rowling. Interestingly, it wasn't my favorite. While the mystery is appealing, the detective isn't as likable Carl Morck (my favorite). 

Grossman, Lev. The Magicians. 

  • This was a really fun Narina-esqe adventure. However, it could have ended quite a few times. While the plot was somewhat driven by the characters' yearnings, it was more driven by the situation they were thrown into. 

Hare, Brian and Vanessa Woods. The Genius of Dogs: How Dogs Are Smarter Than You Think(Penguin 2013). 

  • A student lent me this book, and I devoured it in a few hours. If you love dogs and are interested in why they act the way they do, you'll really enjoy this one! 

Harkness, Deborah. The Book of Life. (Viking Adult 2014).

  • This lived up to the expectation set by its predecessors. If you're into the All Souls Trilogy, read this last book now.

Joyce, Rachel. Perfect. (Random House, 2014). 

  • With the interwoven tales of the main character's childhood and present life, readers will love the boy for his caring nature, and despite that he grows into a man with often paralyzing OCD the reader can empathize with him. This book features a whole host of quirky characters, all of whom I love.  

Kidd, Sue Monk. The Invention of Wings. (Penguin Books 2014). 

  • Sue Monk Kidd's most recent novel, this historical fiction focuses on the lives of Grimke sisters, Charleston abolitionists and feminists. I loved every moment of it. 

Lowe, Christopher. When You're Down by the River: Stories. (BatCat P 2014)

  • I'm probably writing my review while you're reading this sentence. 

Maguire, Gregory. Egg & Spoon. (Candlewick on Brilliance Audio 2014). 

  • Like many of Maguire's books, this is a fairy tale for adults based loosely on Russian folklore. I like the whole story; however, I found some parts of the book boring. 

Martin, George R. R. Game of Thrones: A Song of Ice and Fire. (Bantaum rpt. 2011). 

  • Okay, I love HBO's Game of Thrones. I had to try one of the books. I finished it, but I prefer the TV show. 

McBride, James. The Good Lord Bird. (Penguin Audio 2013). 

  • This book is hysterical and someone quixotic. Little Onion, the main character, is inserted into John Brown's history and tells the story of his raid on Harpers Ferry. This is also an incredibly timely book, considering the situation is Ferguson, Missouri this year. 

Moriarty, Liane. The Husband's Secret. (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam 2013). 

  • Chick-lit turned murder mystery, this Austrailian novel is entertaining. The characters are somewhat flat, but the twists of their would-be predictable lives keep the pages turning. 

---. Big Little Lies. 

  • Okay, I love Moriarty's characters. I actually think this book is better than The Husband's Secret. It's told out of order so the reader gets some incite before the event (Trivia Night) and more information leading up to it. Wonderful! 

Offerman, Nick. Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man's Fundamentals for Delicious Living. (Penguin Audio 2013). 

  • This book is great! I highly recommend it. I think Dan connected to it a little more than I did, but the comic lessons of Offerman's life will please anyone. 

Poehler, Amy. Yes Please. (Harper Audio 2014). 

  • The first half of this book is laugh out loud funny, but then it turned into a who's who of Amy Poehler's success. Tina Fey's memoir was better. (Sorry, Amy. I love you.)

Roth, Philip. American Pastoral. 

  • Okay, I admit that I've never actually read this so I trudged through it because reading books like this builds character. Right? 

Roth, Veronica. Divergent. (Katherine Tegen Books 2011)

---. Insurgent. (Katherine Tegen Books 2012)

---. Allegiant. (Katherine Tegen Books 2013)

  • More post-apocalyptic YA, these novels are fun; you'll be able to finish each in a day. 

Rowell, Rainbow. Eleanor & Park. (Listening Library 2013). 

  • This is a great YA novel. The characters are quirky and adorable. Most importantly, the characters are brave, and deal with the perils of home and high school with character.

Scottoline, Lisa. Accused. (MacMillan Audio 2013). 

  • I love Rosato and associates, and this one doesn't fail to please. Also, I really like Mary DiNunzio and her incredibly Italian American family, but I wish she didn't use being a woman as an excuse quite as much as she does. 

Simsion, Graeme. The Rosie Project: A Novel. (Simon & Schuster 2013). 

  • This is a really good romantic comedy, and it might be a great love story. Time will tell; in the meantime, read it.  

Simukka, Salla. As Red As Blood (Snow White Trilogy Book 1). 

  • Okay, Amazon Prime's monthly books clearly try to introduce readers to series. I thought I was going to quit reading this book 30 pages in, but then I couldn't stop. The main character, Lumikka, is completely intriguing. There is a lot for the story to tie together, and I don't think it completely accomplishes solving the mystery and dealing with Lumikka's past.

Szybist, Mary. Incarnadine. (Graywolf 2013). 

  • Syzbist's collection of poetry is a excellent. Jonathon Farmer's Slate review does it more justice than I can.  

Weir, Andy. The Martian(Crown rpt. 2014). 

  • Sci-fi comedy. Mark Whatley gets struck on Mars and because of his ingenuity and his humor, he stays alive. When I started this book, I worried that it would be too much like Apollo 13 or Cast Away, but the comedy keeps it enjoyable. 

Wilde, Oscar. The Importance of Being Earnest(LA Theater Works 2009). 

  • I listened to this LA Theater Works production, and it's hysterical. If you've never read/seen/listened to this play, you should. 

Wentworth, Patricia. Grey Mask(Rpt. Warner Books, 1986). 

  • This is the first of the British Miss Silver Mysteries, and I really liked it. It took me a bit to get into it, but Miss Silver and the other characters are charming, Grey Mask is uncovered, and it ends in love. 

Wolitzer, Meg. The Interestings. (Riverhead Trade 2014). 

  • This novel is centered around a group of summer camp friends who grow up together in NYC and their friendship develops through adulthood. These characters are far from anyone I know, but, as a voyeur, I enjoyed this novel. And, I have to admit, I keep coming back to these characters like they're my friends; maybe it's so good because the book includes the reader in their lifetime friendship.  

Yancey, Rick. The Fifth Wave. 

  • If you're reading this, you know how much I love apocalyptic YA lit. And this doesn't disappoint. The plot is original, there's a bad-ass heroine, and the threat is actually scary. 

Young, Dean. Recklessness. (Graywolf 2010). 

  • I should have read this sooner. Read it to inspire and understand your own writing. 

Yount, Susan. Catastrophe Theory. (Hyacinth Girl P 2012). 

Zevin, Gabrielle. The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry. (Algonquin 2014). 

  • This is a fun and cute novel about an indie bookstore owner who adopts a child by happenstance. The details are different, but this story is very much like the movie, A Simple Twist of Fate. 

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