Book Lists

Half Way Mark

29 mini book reviews

Just like last quarter, I read 29 books in the last three months. Seven plane rides with only the baby was super helpful to my numbers.

Also, can I mention how sad it was to return all my books to the library before we moved? It always breaks my heart a little to take back unread books (but I took pictures of most of them so I could remember and request them again when we’re finally settled in Arizona).

Here’s what I did manage to finish in April, May, and June:

  • As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes (full review here)
  • If there is one book I would highly recommend from these three months, it’s this one. And seriously, get the audiobook.  

  • Big Bad Detective Agency by Bruce Hale
  • Ella and I read this together and both of us thought it was fairly dumb (Ella asked if we could quit it, but we were SO close to the end (like 20 pages), so she agreed we could finish it up). 

  • Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill
  • This was one of those books where I thought, “Why do I EVER read modern fiction?”

  • In a Blink by Kiki Thorpe 
  • I’m looking at this title and trying to remember anything about it. Oh! This was a Tinkerbell book that Our Best Bites recommended and Ella super loved it (I. . . loved it significantly less. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t what I was dying to read aloud to her). 

  • Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions for Everyday Life by Brian Wansink
  • It wasn’t quite as good as Mindless Eating, but it’s really fascinating still. More like a handbook than a book. 

  • The One by Kiera Cass 
  • By the last one, I was losing a little steam on this series, but I was glad to have read it. 

  • Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull
  • I listened to this and it was a terrific audiobook – I loved hearing about Pixar and how the company and various movies unfolded.

  • In Honor by Jessi Kirby
  • Honor’s brother died in Iraq and right after the funeral she takes off in his beloved car on a road trip in his honor. 

  • The Start of You and Me by Emery Lord
  • I loved Open Road Summer last year so much, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one. It was a fun read, but not quite as good. 

  • A Cricket in Times Square by George Seldon
  • Somehow I’ve never read this, so Ella and I read it together. It was cute, but I feel like I didn’t love it as much as I wanted to. 

  • One Click: Jeff Bezos and the Rise of by Richard L. Brandt
  • This book already felt super dated. But it was still fascinating to see the rise of Amazon and how it all came about. 

  • Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn
  • I did not realize this was the first in a series. It was one of those books that I was like “how is everyone in this book such an idiot?” 

  • Hatching Twitter: A True Story of Money, Power, Friendship and Betrayal by Nick Bilton
  • If you’re going to read a book about Twitter, you should definitely read Things a Little Bird Told Me instead. 

  • Jesse’s Girl by Miranda Kenneally
  • Good heavens, this was dumb. AND completely unbelievable.

  • The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West
  • I love Kasie West’s books – they are just so fun and the dialogue makes me laugh out loud (and then scares my baby). 

  • More than Happy: The Wisdom of Amish Parenting by Serena B. Miller
  • What can I say? I love a good parenting book. 

  • The Life Intended by Kristin Harmel
  • This was pretty good chick-lit. I liked it enough that I want to go back and read her last book, The Sweetness of Forgetting

  • All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  • I know everyone loved loved loved this book, and I liked it. But I think my expectations were just too high. 

  • The Blue Bistro by Elin Hilderbrand
  • I have heard SO MANY things about her books and this was the first one I ever read and it was just totally underwhelming to me. 

  • My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
  • This book is just a fun YA book. I read it a couple of years ago and it was fun to reread it in a few days this spring. 

  • After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • I think she has pretty awesome ideas but I don’t necessarily LOVE the books themselves. This one was about a couple that fell in love in college but after seven years of marriage, they are on the verge of divorce and so they decide to take a year apart with zero contact. This was definitely better than Forever, Interrupted

  • P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han
  • Oh man, I love Jenny Han. I was a little dubious at the beginning of this book, but I totally loved it. I reread all the good bits and then realized I’d read almost the whole book. 

  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (full review here)
  • So then I obviously had to go reread the first book. I wish she’d write about six books a year. 

  • The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (full review here)
  • It’s just so nice to read a good historical fiction book. When someone can make WWII new, it’s pretty impressive. 

  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  • I never read Gone Girl, but this book didn’t make me want to – I just don’t think these kinds of books are my jam. 

  • The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick
  • This was nowhere near as sweet and delightful as My Life Next Door. 

  • Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande
  • This was a stellar way to end the quarter (and look at me, finishing my August book ahead of time). It was TERRIFIC. I can’t wait to tell you all about it. 

Go ahead and link up your quarterly reading with Dana and me. I promise to come check them out! And the button is below the link-up if you’re inclined to add it to your post:

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  • Reply april July 9, 2015 at 12:14 pm

    So I'm on hiatus from blogging even though I'm still reading blogs, so here's my second quarter list:


    25. The Magicians – Lev Grossman
    26. Fire With Fire – Jenny Han (abandoned, will read again after reading first book)
    27. The Magician King – Lev Grossman
    28. Everything I Never Told You – Celeste Ng
    29. Shadow Scale – Rachel Hartman
    30. Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel
    31. The Forgotten Girls – Sara Blaedel


    2. The Prince – Kiera Cass

    32. The Rosie Project – Graeme C. Simsion – ebook expired before I finished
    33. The House of Silk – Anthony Horowitz audio, abandoned. Sherlock Holmes too much intro
    34. Halfway to the Grave – Jeaniene Frost – awful, abandoned, audiobook
    35. Lock and Key – Sarah Dessen
    36. The Guard – Kiera Cass
    37. The Queen – Kiera Cass
    38. The Ruby Circle – Richelle Mead
    39. The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins
    40. Burn for Burn – Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian
    41. The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin abandoned, unfortunate circumstance of not enjoying self-help or non-fiction.
    42. What Happened to Goodbye – Sarah Dessen
    43. That Summer – Sarah Dessen



    44. These Broken Stars – Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
    45. Scene of the Climb – Kate Dyer-Seeley
    46. Etiquette & Espionage – Gail Carringer
    47. Curtsies & Conspiracies – Gail Carringer
    48. Waistcoats & Weaponry – Gail Carringer
    49. Before I Go to Sleep – S.J. Watson
    50. Saint Anything – Sarah Dessen
    51. Eyes on You – Kate White
    52. Trial and Temptation – Ruby Lionsdrake
    53. The Assassin's Salvation – Ruby Lionsdrake
    54. The Ruins of Karzelek – Ruby Lionsdrake
    55. The Scorpio Races – Maggie Stiefvater
    56. Soulless – Gail Carriger
    57. Changeless – Gail Carriger
    58. Blameless – Gail Carriger
    59. Atlantia – Ally Condie
    60. Heartless – Gail Carriger
    61. Timeless – Gail Carriger
    The Rosie Project – Graeme C. Simsion (finish from May)
    62. The Heir – Keira Cass
    63. Prudence – Gail Carriger
    64. The Truth About Forever – Sarah Dessen
    65. Someone Like You – Sarah Dessen

  • Reply boekenbooksbuecher July 9, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    So many great books! Of which I still have to read a lot. Someday… someday…

  • Reply Tina's Blog July 9, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    I love your reading re-caps. I get some great ideas of things to add to my TBR list- as if I need more! I read 62 books this past quarter – which will take me forever to get a post together to link up to yours!

  • Reply SS July 9, 2015 at 12:57 pm

    I am kinda the same about Elin Hilderbrand. I always think I want to read her books, but then, it turns out, I don't enjoy them.

  • Reply Betsy July 9, 2015 at 1:57 pm

    I see Little Beach Street Bakery in that photo. I highly recommend it! I was sad when it ended.

    On Elin Hilderbrand…..the first of her books I read was Silver Girl which I l.o.v.e.d. I listened to it on audio and thought it was a terrific commentary on the power of friendship. Then I read Beautiful Day, and while it was good, it was no Silver Girl. THEN, I read Barefoot, and I thought, "Ohhh. Now I get why people don't like Elin Hilderbrand…"

  • Reply Ashley July 9, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Jenny Han is SO good, and I love you every day for introducing me to her.

  • Reply Alison July 9, 2015 at 4:20 pm

    I'm glad you liked Being Mortal. I first read Complications (I think because of your review?) a few months ago and blazed through the rest of his books shortly after. Such good food for thought! I work in the financial planning field and can't stop telling people they NEED to read Being Mortal when considering retirement and end of life issues.

  • Reply Ash July 9, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    Like you, I didn't get the massive "best book ever" appeal of All the Light We Cannot See. I wasn't surprised that I loved Creativity, Inc because I'm such a Disney/Pixar junkie, but I was surprised at how much I loved Being Mortal. It was the last book in my Q2 stack and I started it halfheartedly one morning only to read the entire thing in half a day. (I imagine that won't be happening after this baby comes. 🙂

  • Reply Anne July 9, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    Ugh to gone girl. I saw it coming a mile away and the whole book was gross and dissatisfying. A book for people who don't read.

  • Reply diana July 9, 2015 at 7:30 pm

    Oh bummer you didn't like "The Blue Bistro"! That's my favorite of her books. Some I like more than others and it took me a few to get into her writing style but now I look forward to her new book every summer and get through it pretty fast. Agree about losing steam by "The One" although I am awaiting "The Heir" from the library soon and excited to read that one. And also agree with "Girl on the Train". Ehhhhh.

  • Reply JoLee July 9, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    Felt the same way about The One. I listened to the audio book, and I think the reader made America even more annoying if that's possible.

    Also loved Open Road Summer. Also dying to read The Start of You and Me, but my library doesn't have a copy, so I'm just waiting until I'm ready to ILL it.

    Kasie West is my current author crush. Everything she writes is delightful and funny.

    Reading P.S. I Still Love You right not. My library finally finished the processing process. Seriously, why does that take so long?

    I'll be posting (and linking) my list on Monday.

  • Reply Kristi Craig July 9, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    I really want to read "As You Wish". I had forgotten about it until reading this post. Thank you for the reminder!

    Kristi | Be Loverly

  • Reply Landen July 9, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    I must say, I am thrilled you liked "As You Wish". I usually take book recommendations from you (hello "Silver Bay"), so it was kind of fun to be the one who suggested it this time!!

  • Reply Marcy July 10, 2015 at 3:10 pm

    A Cricket in Times Square is by George Selden. I hope Chuck Jones was an illustrator or something, and not the author of some sort of weird ripoff…? Thanks for sharing these! Hmm, my list is much shorter, I ought to be able to get something together… Though maybe I should add picture books, that would help. (Except I'm sure you've read a ton of picture books too, so if I'm talking about helping to catch up, no. Heh.) Hmm. 🙂

  • Reply Bookmark Dragon July 10, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    I'm so excited that you read After I Do! And I'm glad you liked it, even if you weren't necessarily blown away. I've been meaning to read As You Wish for months now. I'll have to bump that one to the top of my TBR soon.

  • Reply Feisty Harriet July 13, 2015 at 5:39 pm

    "Being Mortal" is our book club read for October and I am so excited to start it! I love Gawande!


  • Reply ShaeLynn August 5, 2015 at 3:34 am

    I've just discovered your blog and I'm totally intrigued by this book list. The only thing on it I've read is "The One" by Kiera Cass. I was definitely losing steam by the third book, and literally listened to the first half on 1.5x speed, but found myself actually drawn in again by the focus on the rebel forces instead of JUST the exhausting love triangle that made me want to strangle all of them.

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