Favorite Books Read During Winter 2011/2012 (Plus the Ones That Didn’t Exactly Rock My World)

Favorite Books Read During Winter

I can’t believe how many books I read over the winter. I suppose I made good use of the 2.5 hours/ 5 days a week I have to sit through the kids swim practice. Not to mention the numerous all-day weekend swim meets, and the 1 hour commute back & forth to work now that I’ve discovered audio-books.

Favorite Books

The Scorpio RacesNeverwhereDivergent

The Scorpio Races, Maggie Stiefvater. This was the last book I read during 2011, and if I hadn’t already done my “best books of the year” post, this would have been on it. (Amazon| Goodreads)

Neverwhere, Neil Gaiman. Richard Mayhew is not a character I will forget anytime soon … he was just so DAFT! I was totally frustrated and many a time, I went, “Ughhh! Dude – get a CLUE!!!” Of course, that means it was a good book – since I was talking – no, screaming – at a make-believe character! (Amazon| Goodreads)

Divergent, Veronica Roth. This is a fast paced, action packed, thrill ride of a book – with interesting characters that the author took time to develop, and a wickedly interesting plot. (Amazon | Goodreads)

Last SacrificeThe Vampire Academy series (books 5 & 6): Spirit Bound and Last Sacrifice, Richelle Mead. I finally finished off the series (that I started late last year) – and wow what an ending! Each book just kept getting better and better, and the final 2 books were like icing on the cake – fast paced and action packed, with a little romance thrown in too. (Amazon| Goodreads)

Anna Dressed in Blood, Kendare Blake. My reaction in one word – Intense! (Amazon| Goodreads)

77 Shadow Street, Dean Koontz. I freaking loved this book – it definitely gave me the creeps, i.e. I decided against reading this book right before bed, or when I was home alone. (Amazon| Goodreads)

Mistress of RomeWhen Beauty Tamed the BeastOlive Kitteridge

Mistress of Rome, Kate Quinn. There are not many books that can take you out of the world when you’re reading in a public place, and that’s exactly what happened to me while reading this. It’s an amazingly detailed epic tale, and … just wow. (Amazon| Goodreads)

When Beauty Tamed the Beast, Eloisa James. The story was wonderfully written and I was enthralled with the book from beginning to end. This is the 2nd in a series, but each book is a stand-alone novel, so I didn’t feel like I was missing anything. (Amazon| Goodreads)

Olive Kitteridge, Elizabeth Strout. Usually, I can point to 1 or 2 stories that I didn’t like in a collection – but here, I cannot. I’m glad I read this for my book club, as I probably wouldn’t have picked this up on my own. (Amazon| Goodreads)

Books That I Really Liked

LegendThe Lock ArtistOlive Kitteridge

Legend, Marie Lu. Another fast paced, action packed book with interesting characters. I enjoyed the story immensely, but the ending left me hanging. I dislike books that leave issues to be cleared up in a follow-up book. (Amazon| Goodreads)

When She Woke, Hillary Jordan. Jordan did a good job tackling some hard issues, like abortion (which was illegal & the reason why the main character was tinted red – her punishment), religion, justice, feminism & homosexuality. With all theThats issues involved, it was surprising that this book wasn’t a muddled mess – but it just wasn’t. (Amazon| Goodreads)

The Lock Artist, Steve Hamilton. The author really did a fantastic job in creating a deep, multi-faceted, sympathetic criminal – one who I was actually hoping would get off totally free in the end – despite his wrong-doings. (Amazon| Goodreads)

Buddha in the AtticThe Buddha in the Attic, Julie Otsuka. This is a difficult story to tell – about the lives of the mail order Japanese brides who sailed to America shortly after 1907 and the hardships they had to endure – but tha author brought it home, although it did get a bit repetitive sometimes. (Amazon| Goodreads)

Desperate Duchesses, Eloisa James. The story had an engaging plot, but after the intense build-up leading to an engagement, the events that led to it’s demise felt a bit contrived and rushed. (Amazon| Goodreads)

The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho. I’m not a “self-help” type book reader, but I, surprisingly, liked the style of this book, which is sort of similar. (Amazon| Goodreads)

We Others: New and Selected Stories, Steven Millhauser. Overall, I liked most of the stories but I think a few of the “selected” stories could have been cut out of this hefty 400 page book. (Amazon| Goodreads)

The Monster’s Corner: Stories Through Inhuman Eyes, Christopher Golden. The monsters telling their side of the story are sometimes the obvious “creatures of the night” type things, but sometimes it’s people that are monsters because of their evil deeds. And it’s not that the stories were “drop your pants and run scary” but they made me go … hmmm. (Amazon| Goodreads)

Books That Were Okay

The Unbecoming of Mara DyerThe Unbecoming of Mara Dyer, Michelle Hodkin. Didn’t think this deserved all the hype. Again, I’m NOT a fan of “to be continued” type endings for books! Even if a book is meant to be part of a series, it should stand on it’s own. It bothers me so much that I will NOT read sequels of books that do this. There are exceptions of course, but this is not one of them. (Amazon| Goodreads)

The Marriage Plot, Jeffrey Eugenides. Over-hyped by “literary fiction” fan-boys & girls. It takes a while to get into this one, and the GAZILLION references to literary classics turned me off. (Amazon| Goodreads)

Will Grayson, Will Grayson, John Green & David Levithan. Good story but too long. (Amazon| Goodreads)

Ninth Ward, Jewell Parker Rhodes. This book was well written, but ultimately reminded me that books with pre-teens as the main character aren’t for me. (Amazon| Goodreads)

Radiant DaysRadiant Days, Michael A. FitzGerald. The characters in this book were definitely memorable – like the main character, Anthony … dude I kept hoping you would get a clue about being used by that selfish, skanky biatchhh, Gisela! (Amazon| Goodreads)

Blockade Bully, Stephen King. Only 2 stories in this book – 1 was good, the other not so much. (Amazon| Goodreads)

A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer Egan. Good but confusing with 2 many characters & the time-line jumping around. (Amazon| Goodreads)

After the Apocalypse: Stories, Maureen F. McHugh. Out of the story I really liked 4 of them, didn’t get 1 and the rest were okay. (Amazon| Goodreads)

Books That Weren’t For Me

Lovers DictionaryYou Are Free

The Lover’s Dictionary, David Levithan. This book was totally forgettable. Some of the anecdotes were cute & funny – many were not (Amazon| Goodreads)

You Are Free: Stories, Danzy Senna. There were 2 stories that I really liked, but the rest of the stories sort of felt lacking, too short & a little forced – where the issue of ethnicity wasn’t really important even though the author seemed to place emphasis on it with in-depth descriptions. (Amazon| Goodreads)

– Photo Credit: s.ssawada


  1. I can’t resist a post about the best or worst reads and so many of your favourites are on my TBR mountain. The Scorpio Races, Divergent, 77 Shadow Street, Legend and I also have to get to Last Sacrifice. LOL you have great taste :)

    Neil Gaiman narrating his audiobooks is “warm honey” but have only listened to The Graveyard Book & Coraline

  2. I completely agree with Divergent and Anna Dressed in Blood, can’t wait for the sequels! And while I really liked The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer the ending did piss me off a little. You can’t just drop a bomb like that and make me wait forever to find out what happens next.

  3. several of these have been on my TBR for awhile. now a few have inched up while a few have sunk a bit. plus a few titles I’ve never heard have hit my radar.

    thanx for visiting Joystory. hope your Bloggiesta is as productive as you hope. but don’t forget to have fun!

  4. Lol – so true – that cover for When Beauty Tamed the Beast is so horrendous! But the book was excellent :-) And The Buddha in the Attic just won the 2012 PEN/Faulkner Award – so it’s probably worth the read just to see if you agree/ disagree … so far it seems there has been quite the disagreement with that decision.

  5. Every time I see the cover for When Beauty Tamed the Beast I laugh. Didn’t this get ugly cover nomination? I am glad it is a good read. There are so many books here that I am interesting in reading. I will be adding The Buddha in the Attic to my TBR list.

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