2015 Reading List

This year I'll add new books to the top of the list. Here goes!

53. What a strong book to finish the year with! For some reason, I had been avoiding this book for awhile for some reason. I first picked it up in June at the library - the real paper book - but I didn't want to tote it to Hawaii, so I returned it and put it on my ebook wish list. It became available a couple of times, but I never took it. I have tried to read other books by Allende and got a little lost in the characters and the history and couldn't get through it. Maybe I was worried about that happening again. I can tell you that I did get lost in the characters and the story of Maya's Notebook, but in the best way. The story was so engaging and entertaining and the characters so vibrant, I couldn't put the book down. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think I may even take on another Allende book next year! (December)

52. Little Beach Street Bakery is a cute story. It's about a girl named Polly whose business with her boyfriend fails. The boyfriend decides they need to take a break and moves in with his mother, leaving Polly to fend for herself with very little savings. She winds up moving to a tiny village called Mt. Polbearne (the story takes place in England). The village is on a little piece of land that becomes an island at high tide. The idea of moving to a place where no one knows you and you don't have a job is pretty terrifying, but it works out for Polly (of course). I really enjoyed this book. It was easy to read and fun and lovely. I think there is a second book with the same characters. I'd be happy to read it too. (December)

51. I completely fell in love with the main characters in this book, Cath and Levi. Rainbow Rowell knows how to write about falling in love. She works her way into it. It's subtle. It's sweet. It's addictive. The story is about Cath. She and her twin sister Wren are college freshman and they are not roommates, to Cath's dismay. Cath is big into fanfiction and she write a story to go along with a series of books that is vaguely reminiscent of Harry Potter, but different. I thought I wouldn't like the fanfiction parts of the book, but I got used to it. Mostly though, I loved Cath and Levi. In fact, when I swiped the page and found I was at the end of the book, I sort of yelped out loud, "No Rainbow Rowell! I'm not ready to be done!" Will she write a sequel? Man, I hope so! (December)

50. As predicted, I flew through my "chick lit" selections. So much easier to read than weightier books. Maybe I'm a little shallow when it comes to books. Oh well, at least I'm reading something, right? So...The Rumor. Typical Hilderbrand: set in Nantucket, at least one character from a previous book has a role in this current book, female characters are lovely flawed women, teenager characters are shits, male characters are self-absorbed. My mom read this book recently and commented that the women always stick together in the end while the men have to pay the piper, so to speak. It's true, but I liked it anyway. (December)

49. I like the cover of this book and after reading a synopsis, I thought I might like the insides of the book, too, and I really did! It was the perfect chick lit book I was looking for: a nice story, interesting characters and nothing too taxing on my brain. The story is about Eva and Grace and there are several others who are key to the story also. It takes place in New York, Paris, Monte Carlo and London. I liked it a lot! (December)

48.  I was really excited to read Bring Up the Bodies. It was a big award-winning book a couple of years ago and it's been on my list for awhile. This is the second book of a planned trilogy about Thomas Cromwell. I have not read the first book, Wolf Hall, but I did some checking and found that reading the first book wasn't a prerequisite for this book. I'm sure Wolf Hall is about Henry VIII's transition from Katherine to Anne (wife one to wife two) and Cromwell's role in that transition. This book is about Henry's transition from Anne to Jane (wife two to wife three). I found the book difficult to read. It took me 20 days to get through it which is quite a long time for me. I've been reading about a book a week until this month. I have only finished two books this month, and I think because they have been heavy subjects. I need some chick lit, stat! (November)

47. I found out about this book from a Huffington Post article titled "21 Book from the Last Five Years that Every Woman Should Read".  The book came up at the elibrary, so I thought I'd give it a try. The story is pretty tough, though; the first line is "Lydia is dead..." The story is about a biracial family in the 1970s that is a little dysfunctional. The parents dote on their middle child, Lydia, and don't seem to have much attention to spare for their other two children. The way the lack of attention affects Nath and Hannah is heartbreaking. And why is Lydia dead? This book made me feel kind of sad. (November)

46. There's nothing like a John Grisham book every now and then. He tells a good story. Gray Mountain is about a woman, Samantha, who goes to work in a legal aid clinic in a small town in the Appalachian mountains. She takes on a number of cases, gets involved with some interesting local people and learns a lot about the coal industry in the process. If Grisham decides to do so, he could write a series about Samantha and her adventures in Brady. The book is wide open for a sequel. (October)

45. Blood Magick is the third book in the Cousins O'Dwyer trilogy. It is pretty much exactly the same as the other two books. The characters are familiar and nice and the setting is good, so it was a quick easy little read. (October)

44. Heatbreak Hotel was a Nook Daily Find. It is by the author who wrote The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. I haven't read that book, but I liked the movie, so I was interested in Heartbreak Hotel. It's kind of like Marigold Hotel, except in Wales and without as many older people. Buffy, an aging former actor, is left a bed and breakfast by a former flame. He moves from London to Wales and runs the B&B, even though it's sort of in disrepair and he doesn't exactly know what he's doing. We meet a whole bunch of characters at the start of the book who later show up at the B&B. It's a little confusing, but it's pretty sweet. (October)

43. Another book chosen by number! I like books by Alice Hoffman. This one is a little different in that it all takes place in a small town in Massachusetts from the beginning of the town to nearly the present day. The town was started by a small handful of families and each chapter is about a person relating to one of the founding families but in a different year. It was a little confusing to try to keep everyone straight, for example, who was related to who, so I gave up on that and enjoyed each chapter for what is was: a micro story. (September)

42. This book was a Nook daily find. I thought it seemed interesting, so I bought it. I'd been on something of a book buying spree before the Spain trip, so I wasn't sure what to read. I numbered all my new purchases and asked my sister to pick a number in a range. This book corresponded with the number she gave me. (Fun way to pick a book!) The book is written in the second person point of you - kind of unusual - by Joe. He becomes fixated/obsessed with a customer from his bookstore, Beck.  He pursues Beck relentlessly and ruthlessly. Joe doesn't let anyone or anything get in the way of his relationship with Beck. It's creepy and mesmerizing. (September)

41. I saw the movie based on the book in the spring with my sister and really loved it. I had the book on my waiting list at the library for a long time and finally got it right before I left for Barcelona. Let me just say that about the only thing the book has in common with the movie is the character's names. Bianca and Wesley don't have a charming, care-free friendship in the book. Really, the book and the movie are nothing alike. I liked the movie a lot better. (September)

40. I found this book because one of my friends had posted it on Pinterest. She and I usually like the same types of books, so I got it. It wasn't really what I expected. It's the story of a family and how their mother's hoarding problem tears them apart and how her death sort of brings them back together. Hmm...I don't make it sound very nice, and truly it was hard to read sometimes, but it's an interesting story. (September)

39. I loved the movie The Hundred-Foot Journey. I've seen it several times. I loved the story, I loved the setting, I loved the people (the actors), I loved the scenery. I was excited to read the book and I also really loved it, but it is very different from the movie. Very different. Of course there is a lot more detail in the book, but the story is also more expansive. It ends nicely but completely differently from the the movie. When I got to a certain point in the book I was expecting something different to happen and was surprised at where it went, but I liked it. It was more complete. (September)

38. I'm not exactly sure why I chose to read this book. I'm pretty sure I won't be reading any others in the series. It's kind of a Wizard of Oz thing in that it has the characters but it all takes place after Dorothy comes back from Oz and she really wants to go back. She's a super-annoying teenager who just gets more annoying when she does get back to Oz. There were some imaginative scenes, but overall, it just wasn't for me. (August)

37. You know Cecilia Ahern, right? She wrote PS I Love You and many other books, too. I've read a couple of her books and they were all right, but I didn't care too much for them. In fact, I think the last one I read was in like, 2011 or something. This book, One Hundred Names, popped up on the library list of favorite e-books in our area, so I thought I'd give it a try and you know what? I liked it! It is about a reporter named Kitty who didn't do a very good job with a story and got in a lot of trouble for it. She is seeking to redeem herself by trying to figure out a story mentioned to her by her late mentor. The book is about Kitty's quest to find the story in the one hundred names and finding herself again in the process. (August)

36. This is the follow-up book to If I Stay, which I read in May. The story is told by Adam and it takes place three years after Mia's accident. Adam is now a full-blown rock star, full of rock star angst and emotions. He hasn't seen or heard from Mia in about two and a half years. He is in New York, preparing to leave for London for a European tour when he happens to see that Mia, a cellist, is performing at Carnegie Hall. He gets a ticket, they reunite and, well, you'll have to read it to see if it all ends the right way. I gobbled this book up like it was a delicious treat, easy and sweet. (August)

35. Jennifer Weiner is another of those writers from whom I will read anything she writes. She tells a good story with interesting characters. It's all very believable. That being said, she also writes her characters in such a way that makes me feel a little uncomfortable. The women she writes about seem too real, with problems that aren't nice. This story is about Allison. She is a nice lady with a little girl and a husband and big house and a good job (she's a professional blogger.) Her father gets Alzheimers; her mother has a hard time coping; her daughter is a handful at times; her husband becomes distant. Allison develops an addiction to pain killers. It is difficult to read about the progress of her addiction. How can she do that to herself and her family? "Come on, Allison!" I wanted to yell. "Get your act together!" What I liked the best about this book is that Jennifer Weiner didn't wrap it all up pretty at the end and tell us that everything was going to be all right, because like in real life, things don't always work out. Allison is trying and giving it her best, but she knows it could all fall down again. I liked it. (August) 

34. Matthew Quick wrote The Silver Linings Playbook. I haven't read the book, but I saw the movie and quite enjoyed the quirkiness of it. This book, The Good Luck of Right Now, is also quirky and endearing. The story is told by Bartholomew in a series of letters to Richard Gere, the actor.  Richard Gere doesn't respond or anything, but he's sort of like Bartholomew's spirit guide. There aren't many other characters in the story, so you get to know them pretty well. I was sitting here smiling as I was thinking about Elizabeth and Max and Father MacNamee. I liked it. (August)

33. I picked this physical book up at the library, because look at it! How cute is the cover? The story is about a couple of women (who don't know each other) who see an ad for a cottage rental on a little island off the coast of Maine. They have to rent the cottage for the month of August. They find a couple of other women to share the cottage and the cost with and they all go to the remote island for a month. The first two ladies have kids in the same daycare building, one of the women is a movie star and the fourth person isn't a woman at all, but a man with a lady's name. All four of the people are dealing with some drama in their life and the month in Maine is a place to figure it all out. It was a nice enough story. The setting was cool. The characters were all right and I liked the ending. (July)

32. I thought this book might be a little John Green and a little Rainbow Rowell and maybe it wanted to be, but it didn't quite get there for me. It's about these high school kids who are from different social backgrounds but their worlds collide (literally) one night and they sort of become friends, but it's really awkward. Things kind of get weird in the end, too and it just made me shake my head.  I wanted to like this book, but, well, I just didn't like it that much. (July)

31. Another Elin Hilderbrand book. I liked this one a lot! As all of her books do, this story is set on Nantucket Island. The main character is Dabney, the director of the Chamber of Commerce. Dabney is wonderfully flawed. She's a good, kind person who is human and has faults and it just makes her real. I got totally caught up in her story and in the other characters. I spent the best hour of the day sitting on the deck in the sunshine reading this book until the end. I was crying and smiling and I completely fell in love with all the characters. Nice job Elin! (July)

30. Sarah Addison Allen is one of my favorite writers. I have read all her books. She creates good characters, the locations are charming and the stories are easy and fun and engaging. There's a little touch of magic weaved into her stories and that's fun, too. First Frost is the second book about the Waverly family. (Garden Spells is the first book about the family.) I practically flew through this book and I was sad to turn the page at the end and find that the story was over. Please write another book soon, Sarah Addison Allen! (July)

29. I thought this book was written by another author that I read earlier this year. It wasn't, though. Same first name, same nationality.  Anyway, I struggled a bit with this book in the beginning. The character, Anna, was kind of a bitch and I didn't like her at all. Eventually, though, she sees the error of her selfish ways and realizes it's all her mother's fault and she becomes nice. It was merely ok for me. (July)

28. Lunch in Paris is a non-fiction book. The author, Elizabeth, an American, tells about how she was living and studying in London when she fell in love with a French guy and after a time, they decided to live together in Paris and eventually got married. Elizabeth talks about what it is like to get married in a foreign country and about the many cultural differences between the French and the Americans. Interspersed through the book are recipes. Most of the recipes are French and some of them sounded delicious. She talks quite a bit about French cooking. I like books about food and this book had a little bit of everything. I enjoyed it. (June)

27. My favorite book this month! I loooooooooove Barbara O'Neal books! This is my third O'Neal book this year, and I liked this one the best, I think. It's about this woman who goes to a little town in New Mexico to do some research for her work. The town was were she spent part of her childhood, but she doesn't have many memories of the place, just kind of flashback thoughts. Of course, she meets a man who has lots of baggage (he's a widower with three children), but she's not without some baggage herself. I liked how everything came together. It was kind of unbelievable, but I thought it was great. (June)

26. I have this fascination with India and Indian people. I really love to read books about people from India. Most of this book takes place in the U.S.,  but the characters are Indian (mostly). The story is about a man and a woman. The woman is much more traditional Indian, except that she is attending university in the U.S., but she still thinks in the traditional ways and wants to be married (well, she is married and that's part of the plot). The guy is much more Westernized, I would say. He is non-traditional, but loves his mom. There's quite a lot going on in this story but it boils down to the man and the woman falling in love and going through the ups and downs of love given their unique situation. The woman kind of drove me nuts because she is always crying. The guy kind of drove me nuts because he is always giving the girl a smoldering look or flashing his toothpaste bright smile. I didn't think it was great, but it was ok for a beach read. (June)

25. I thought I'd read The Book of Joe a few years ago, but I looked back through my lists and I didn't see it anywhere. When I read it, the story seemed familiar but not familiar at the same time. The characters are memorable, so I think I would remember them which leads me to think that I haven't read it before, but I could have sworn...
Anyway, I did enjoy this book! Like I said, the characters are good. I really liked Wayne. Sean scared me. Joe himself is kind of a douche, but he's trying to get over himself, I think. The scene towards the end in the church made me all teary-eyed. (June)

24. My Own Miraculous is really just a short story. It is the first story about Shandi and her little boy Natty. You meet them again in the book Someone Else's Love Story which I read last year (I think) and I liked. In this story, Natty is only three years old and Shandi is realizing that Natty may be a genius or at least have an extremely high IQ. I didn't really get anything new out of it since I read the second book first and it told me everything I needed to know about Shandi, Natty, Walcott and the families. Still, it was a nice quick weekend read. (May)

23. If I Stay was made into a movie, but I didn't see it. I wasn't too interested in it and it's one of those sad stories. I wasn't sure if I wanted to read the book, but you know, I'm glad I did. For one thing, the writing is pretty spectacular. The characters are lovely and yes, the circumstance of the story is gut-wrenching, but the way the story is told and the use of flashbacks to fill us in and to get to know the characters is superb. It's also a very quick read. And yes, I cried.  (May)

22. When I saw the cover of this book and saw the title, I knew I had to read it. Madame Picasso is a novel of historical fiction similar to The Paris Wife or The Aviator's Wife, both of which I read last year. This story is set in Paris in the late 1800s/early 1900s and is centered around a young woman named Eva Gouel who fell in love with Pablo Picasso. Picasso fell deeply in love with her as well, and it is a wonderful novel. Although Picasso wanted to marry Eva, they never exchanged wedding vows (so sad!) but it seems that they truly loved each other, and that was awesome. I liked the setting of Paris and the people that Picasso and Eva were friends with. I also liked it when they went to the country in the summer. The writing is beautiful and descriptive. I was in tears at the end. (May)

21. I like the title of this book. I like the writing on it, too, even though I got the ebook version so I couldn't admire the cover all the time. I really liked the characters in this story. The story is told by Clay, and he has a very entertaining voice. He has interesting friends, too, like Mr. Penumbra, the mysterious bookstore owner; Mat, builder of Matropolis; Kat from Google; and Neel, the nerdy childhood friend turned millionaire. There are others along the way, but these four are key. Well, maybe Mat's not key, but he's interesting. The story itself was merely all right for me, but I was amused and engaged by the writing. (May)

20. I like books by Elin Hilderbrand. Like Nancy Thayer, Hilderbrand's books are set in Nantucket. Winter Street is a fairly short novel set in Nantucket at Christmas and is about a family that is having some crises. At first I didn't really like it and even considered giving it up until Christmas time, since I'm not really in the Christmas spirit here in May. The story picked up some steam, though, and I kept with it and I liked it pretty well. (May)

19, Back to chick lit and I flew through this little nugget from Nancy Thayer. I like Nancy Thayer books. She typically sets them in Nantucket and it makes me want to go there. Thayer's characters are typically nice people who don't resemble anyone I know in real life. The women are beautiful  and smart; the men and handsome and sweet and love their women. This story was about three women who are sisters: a half-sisters and a stepsister. Their dad has died and a stipulation of his will is that the three of them live together at the house in Nantucket for the summer, then they can sell the house and split the profit. Camaraderie ensues and a happy ending is guaranteed. Thank you Nancy Thayer! (May)

18. Two books by men in April. I think it's a record for me. I have read one Wally Lamb novel, his first book, I Know This Much Is True. It was a long time ago, and if I remember right, it kind of traumatized me because of the characters and the intensity of the story. I remember too that Lamb is a good storyteller and really develops the characters. This book, We Are Water, is also a wonderful character study. The story is told from the POV of many characters, but mostly Annie and Orion. It's a long book, over 500 pages, but I got through it pretty fast. There is some intense situations but it's so well written that you just roll through it. (April)

17. The Red Tent has been on my book radar for several years. A couple of friends of mine at work read it and loved it and recommended it to me. I always try to pick it up at the library, but it was always checked out. Finally, I put it on hold and a copy came available. This is a story from the Bible, kind of. Well, it's origins are in the Bible, but this is the full story, maybe. It's the story of Dinah, the only daughter of Jacob. It's the story of her life. It was a good story and I enjoyed it. I wouldn't say I loved it, it didn't make me cry, but I thought it was good. (April)

16. I read a lot of books written by women (chick lit, I guess) so sometimes I switch it up and read a book written by a man. Garth Stein wrote The Art of Racing in the Rain, a book I really liked and this book, A Sudden Light, is his second novel. Since I liked the first book so much, this is the man book I chose. I enjoyed it. I didn't like it as much as his first book, but this is a good story. There are ghosts and crazy aunts and remote fathers and Trevor, the heart and voice of the book.  I like the way Stein writes and tells the story. (April)

15. This book was a Nook Daily Find from Barnes & Noble. The book is written in the form of a letter from Gemma, a 16 year old girl who is kidnapped, to her kidnapper, Ty. It takes place deep in the Australian Outback. The book is pretty intense. I thought it was well written, too. It's kind of easy to see how Stockholm Syndrome could happen. Ty is messed up, but you kind of like him anyway. Has this story been made into a movie, maybe in Australia or something? It should be. The part with the camel would be cool. (March)

14. This is a cute story about Elizabeth, an English professor from a super-overachieving family. Elizabeth accepts a job offer from her movie star ex-husband to spend the summer in Ashland, Oregon at the Shakespeare Festival. In the process, she adopts a dog, puts a book proposal together and nearly derails her brother-in-law's plans to run for governor. I liked everything about this book and I'm pretty sure I'll find the author's first book, Helen of Pasadena, and read that, too. (March)

13. I really, really like books by Barbara O'Neal. I like the characters she creates and she does a really nice job with the setting and tells a good story. This book was about four women who all happen to write blogs about food and they all get together for the birthday of one of the women. I liked it just fine, and I think if Ms. O'Neal was so inclined, she could write more books based on each of the women. I'd love to read about Lavender's younger stewardess years. How about a follow up on Ruby or Ginny? I'm pretty sure a whole book about Valerie and her daughter would be excellent. What do you say, Barbara O'Neal? (March)

 12. I bought Lizzy and Jane through Barnes & Noble. It was a daily pick. It's about two sisters, named after the Bennett sisters from Pride and Prejudice, but that's pretty much where the similarity to Austen ends. The sisters are estranged: Lizzy is a chef in New York City and Jane is in marketing in Seattle. They are reunited when Jane gets cancer and Lizzy can't find her cooking mojo and her restaurant is in trouble. It's not all smooth sailing when the two get back together. A lot of the story is kind of uncomfortable as they try to get reacquainted, but you know, it all works out in the end. There was some cooking going on (I love books about food and cooking) but it was pretty vague. The story is about people. It was pretty good. (March)

11. This is a Reader's Choice from the library, but it's been on my reading list for quite awhile since Barnes and Noble offered it up as a daily pick and I missed out on buying it. The premise is the Sleeping Beauty story and it's told from the point of view of Elise, a servant in the castle. It's not your typical Sleeping Beauty story. It's pretty dark at times. Elise is a good character and I liked the book quite a lot. (March)

10.  Rainbow Rowell is a good writer. Her book Eleanor and Park was one of my favorite books last year. This book, Landline, won the Goodreads winner of Best Fiction 2014. I don't know about that. It was fine. The characters were a bit quirky but likable. The dialog was snappy, but the premise was a bit strange and I don't really know what happened there, I guess. You know, with the landline.  It was like a phone into the past, but was it really? I just don't know. This book was certainly no Eleanor and Park. (March)

9. Oh how I love books by John Green! I think there is only one of his books that I haven't read yet. My very most favorite is The Fault in Our Stars, but this book, Paper Towns, might be second. John Green is a master of quirky teenage characters that you cannot help but like. The main character in this story is Q, short for Quentin. Q is a bit obsessed with his neighbor, Margo Roth Spiegelman and the story centers around Q's search for her. Along the way we get to know Ben and Radar and Lacey and find out Q's thoughts on some of his classmates including a girl named Becca who Q thinks "maintains her lovely figure by eating nothing but the souls of kittens and the dreams of impoverished children." John Green rules! (February)

8. I have read a couple of books by Barbara O'Neal, and I think this one might be my favorite! It's about a lady who owns a boulangerie. There is recipes for bread, but there is also the story of the Ramona, the baker and her family. There's a beautiful love story with Jonah, too. I really enjoyed this book. Once I got started, I didn't even want to put it down. Try it! (February)

7. I'm not sure what drew me to this book. Maybe because it was available as an ebook and it seemed like kind of a cute premise. It's about a young lady who has been told fantastical tales of her childhood by her mother, so now the young lady, Meg, doesn't know anything that's true about herself. Now her mother is fatally ill and Meg wants to learn the truth before her mother passes away. Doesn't sound too cheery when I put it like that, does it? It ends up ok, but I admit that I had a hard time getting into it. (February)

6. It's Reader's Choice time again at the county library and this book is one of the selections. This book is about a young woman, Billie, who goes to New York to work at a food magazine named Delicious! When the magazine is shut down, Billie's services are retained to honor the magazine's guarantee that all of their recipes are, in fact, delicious. Along the way, Billie finds some letters written by a young girl to the chef James Beard who used to work at the magazine during WWII.  The book is full of good characters and the story is interesting. It is well written - lots of descriptive words that really take you into the places. I wanted to be friends with Sammy and Sal! It felt a little slow at first, but I really got into it and enjoyed it very much. (February)

 5. Books by Susan Elizabeth Phillips are my weakness. (heehee) They are formulaic and appealing. Her female characters are easy to relate to and her male characters are all hunks with hearts. They have passionate sex and fall in love. What's not to like? This particular book followed the same formula, but it was a little bit different. There were puppets - the heroine was a ventriloquist. I wasn't sure I'd be down with that, but SEP worked it into the story in a way that made sense, but not at first. I almost stopped reading because the damn puppets kept voicing Annie's concerns and thoughts. Kind of annoying, but it all worked out. (February)

4. My mom read this book and gave it five stars on Goodreads. I read Jean Kwok's first novel, Girl in Translation and thought it was good, so I thought I'd give this one a try. I thought it was really good! I enjoyed Charlie and I sort of fell in love with her and Ryan. Charlie kind of lived a double life as a dance teacher in Manhattan and a traditional daughter in Chinatown.  The image I had in my mind of Charlie at the beginning of the book was certainly much different than the image I had of her at the end and I liked how Kwok made me change my mind. It was a fun read. (January)

3. I picked this book up at the library. My mom had just finished a book by this author, Jenny Colgan, and had really liked it, so I wanted to read it too. (My mom and I have very similar tastes in books.) I couldn't find that particular book, though, so I got this one instead. This story is about a girl named Rosie who leaves her home and boyfriend in London to go to Derbyshire to care for her ailing great-aunt and to prepare the aunt's business, an old-fashioned sweet shop, for sale. We learn all about Rosie's adventures in the tiny village of Lipton and swirling through is the back-story of Aunt Lillian. It is pure chick lit and I enjoyed it a lot. I loved Rosie and immediately wanted to go to the English countryside. I will definitely be reading more books by Jenny Colgan. Sweet and easy. (January)

2. Lately I have been getting ebooks through the library website. I had heard about this book, Cutting for Stone, a few years ago when it came out, but I've never read it. There it was on the library site, ready to be downloaded, so I checked the reviews on Goodreads.com and decided to give it a chance. I'm glad I did. It is certainly the first book I have ever read that was set mainly in Ethiopia. I had to check my world map to make sure I knew the location of the African nation. (FYI, Ethiopia is in eastern Africa. It is southeast of Sudan, north of Kenya and east of Somalia.) Cutting for Stone is told by Marion, who is a twin of Shiva. Their mother was a nun from India who was a nurse at a hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Their father was the British surgeon who worked at the same hospital. That's just the start of it. The book is long - over 500 pages -  but it was written so beautifully and the characters were so vivid that the pages turned themselves. I really enjoyed it. (January)

1. My intention was for this book to be the last one I finished in 2014, but it didn't work out. I finished it the morning of the 1st. I love Maeve Binchy novels. They are comfortingly similar. Binchy tells the stories of lots of different characters and brings them all together in the end. It seemed like her later novels were much more mini character sketches that kind-of-sort-of came together rather than a complete story like Circle of Friends.  This book is a good example of that style, but she was good at writing that type of book. Sadly, Binchy passed away in 2012 and this was her final novel. I liked it. (January)

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