The End is Near: My first end of year literary wrap-up Part One

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A year is coming to an end. This year was an exciting year for me. In June, after my wonderful Book Expo of America adventure in June, I decided to write this very blog (thank you Shelia!). This year also marked a great year in books. And, I got to share some of them with you. How exciting!

This is my first time doing a year-end book wrap up on my blog (and, ever!).  For this first part I am going to list My 13 favorite books I read this year. Although a majority were published this year, there will be a few that were released in prior years but were a first read for me.

My 13 Favorite Books I read in 2013

  1. Every Day by David Levithan (5 Stars)

  Mr. Levithan did it again. He made me fall in love with him all over again. He reminded me why he is my favorite male YA author who can write just about everything. Even his only adult contemporary novel was great. I loved A. He was a honest character who was very mature, articulate, and wonderful for his age. There were so many quotes I loved. He talked about first loves and how they hurt. Just all of it was great; very well-written and jam packed with meanings, metaphors, and everything I love of Levithan’s. So glad I got to meet him in September at the Brooklyn Book Festival. He was so down to Earth. Read him if you haven’t. Or, if you have, pick this one up. Like Now. It will stay with you.

      2. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Powell (5 Stars)

Rainbow Powell, you had me at awesome music. I loved this book so much. It wasn’t one of those sappy High School first love stories where everything is all good, dandy, and forever. This was a realistic story I could relate to. It was a raw, hit you in the heart story that I would reread again. Rainbow Powell, I am a fan.

3. The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider (4 and a half Stars)

A freebie from BEA, I think I would have bought this anyway. Another realistic YA novel about first love in High School. I laughed, I cried, and I cried. Great read. It was also nice that the narrator was a guy for once. I typically don’t read ones where a guy is the speaker, so this was either refreshing or just done very well. I’ll go with both. Another book I can see as a reread.

4. Just One Day by Gayle Forman (4 Stars)

Two words: double happiness. And, another. Stain. Two great romance based metaphors I will always remember. And, massive swoon alert. I swooned pretty much throughout. I am listening to the sequel on audio and am loving it, too.

5.) Under the Light (Light, #2) by Laura Whitcomb (5 Stars)

Another must read, in my opinion. A Certain Slant of Light is one my favorite books of all time. I was so thrilled a second book was coming out after years. No way was I disappointed. I loved reading this story. It takes place both during and after the first book, if that makes sense, but through the “possessed” point of views. So, it is the boy and girl’s perspective first when they met on a different plane after leaving their bodies; then, connecting what happened, trying to remember, and coping with being back in their bodies. It was a beautiful story. I definitely swooned, but it’s a little easy for me to do.

6.) All My Friends are Superheroes by Andrew Kaufman (5 Stars)

I had been waiting a year to read this. I was not disappointed. I read this on a bus and could not stop laughing. Andrew Kaufman takes the ideas of what we think of superheroes and transforms the abilities to make an every day, average personality trait ad quality to be something so much more; a real superhero move to be. I read the tenth anniversary edition where he added more superheroes at the end. I was very happy with his new add on. Another book I would recommend to really anyone. It was less than 200 pages long and felt much shorter.

7. Undertaking Love by Kat French (5 Stars)

Such a funny romance novel. It was sexy in the right places. Funny in the perfect places. And entertaining everywhere in between. I couldn’t put it down. I’ve never been a huge fan of chick lit, but what French did was just great. She wrote perhaps my favorite metaphor for love this year: a rock and a lighthouse. A character in the book always wore a broach of a lighthouse. You find out it represents her husband and their love. He considered her his lighthouse that rested on his rock. It is beautiful and something I will always remember.

8. Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen (4 and a half Stars)

I have liked Edgar Allan Poe for a while. I didn’t realize he had an affair. And a great one at that. Frances Osgood was a fascinating character who I enjoyed learning about. I never heard of her prior, so it was nice learning about her. And, Poe’s crazy wife! Wow. His wife was crazy, but her mother. The apple did not fall far from the tree. Let’s just say I haven’t been that surprised by an ending in a while. I got it on netgalley; I will most likely buy it in the near future. So great.

9. The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley (4 and a half Stars)

I listened to this on audio from audible. The narrator was fantastic. I think they may be why I loved the book as much as I do. I love it when that happens. If you like historical fiction, this is for you. If you don’t, this is for you still because it takes part in the present. Two love stories in one, ladies. Can’t beat that. And, the last sentence from each period (is the same) was awe inducing.

10. Six Months Later by Natalie Richards (5 Stars)

A lot of YA novels I read are predictable, but enjoyable for the most part. This is not your traditional YA novel. I like teen romances, but this teen mystery genre, I may have to take a part in. I loved the suspense, twists and turns, and the characters. Every bit had me on the edge.

11. The Flight of Gemma Hardy by Margot Livesey (4 Stars)

Jane Eyre is one of my favorite novels of all times. A classic novel, it’s hard not to be a fan. This novel was a great adaptation of a classic novel that has struggled with vampires, poor sequels, and spin-offs. It was a great retelling, but just as great of a stand alone. I truly loved it.

12. Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill (4 Stars)

Another YA novel. This was one of those books that I felt connected to in some way. I don’t know why, to be honest. Based around sports, it is a foreign territory for me. I liked ice skating as a child, but hockey never. Yet, it wasn’t a turn-off. As much as it was about sports, it was about so much more, too. You read about the characters struggles, challenges, and grow with them.  I am happy I get to be part of the book blitz tour because it was such a good read. I think fans of Jennifer E. Smith would love this book. From dual perspectives, it was a no brainier to add this book to my top list.

13. The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen (5 Stars)

Oh, Sarah. How can I not include you? This wasn’t one of my favorite books of hers, but I definitely enjoyed it. She never fails to impress me with the way she crafts characters. The females are always strong, independent thinkers that I want to befriend. The love interests aren’t half bad either. Wes from The Truth about Forever is still my favorite. This book might not be a good starter book if you haven’t read her before, but if you’ve read one, I wouldn’t be discouraging if you read this next.

 

There you have it. My top 13. Reading close to sixty books this year, it was a little difficult to choose. I hope you find some books here that interest you. Some great reads, I tell ya.

 

Stay tuned for part two: My top 13 books I wish I read this year published in 2013. And, part three: My top 14 books I am looking forward to reading most this year. *spoiler, some were released in 2013.

 

Happy reading!

Tackle Your TBR Shelf Read-a-thon Finale

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ORIGINAL GOALS

Goal One- Read 5-6 books: read two to three netgalley books on my shelf (I have 15, oh my!) my late library book The Ambassador’s Daughter, The Bookmaker’s Tale, and a surprise.

Goal Two- Write a review for each and post on same day as read.

Goal Three-Participant in at least half of the challenges and visit most of the participants.

Goal Four- Read 2100 pages, whew.

FINAL UPDATE REVEAL 

The end has neared. I know I haven’t done many updates, but believe me I have been busy.

Let’s see how I did, shall we?

Goal One– total books read 4 and 1/2 

READ:

Sideshow of Merit by Nicole Pietsch (DNF but review linked)

Reaping Me Softly by Kate Evangelista (3 stars- review linked)

4 to 16 Characters by Kelly Hourihan (2 and a half stars-review linked)

The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley (4 stars and a half stars-review to be posted)

Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen (4 and a half stars-review linked)

*Three netgalley books read and reviewed- goal 2-3 to be read completed

*One impluse e-book buy

*One audio book

Goal Two: post all reviews

Four out of five books read, reviewed, and posted.

Goal Three:

One challenge missed out of six.

About half of participants visited. (I even got new followers, thanks all!)

Goal Four:

Pages read: 1439 in 11 days!  (I thought I had three weeks so not bad, not bad at all)

16 hours of audio listened to (totals around 400 pages, I shall count in page count, I shall)

All in all, I had fun with the challenges, participants, reading in excess, and catching up to my goodreads goal. I was behind by 11, now I am behind by 7. Woo hoo. 

Big thanks go to all the people who set up challenges, giveaways, and to Tressa at Tressa’s Wishful Endings and Laura at Colorimetry to make this wonderful event happen. I enjoyed it immensely.  

 

Edgar Allan Poe was a romantic: Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen Book Review

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Mrs. Poe

By Lynn Cullen

To be released October 1st, 2013 by Gallery Books (imprint of Simon and Schuester)

336 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Acquired by Netgalley

Rating: Four and a half stars

A writer and his demons. A woman and her desires. A wife and her revenge . . . 

Where Winter in New York City is desolate, freezing, and unwelcoming becomes center stage for this thrilling historical fiction novel about struggling poet Frances Osgood and Edgar Allan Poe. From the winter of 1845, when they first met, Cullen masterfully describes their relationship until Winter 1847.

It’s 1845, Mr. Poe’s The Raven has just been published to wide acclaim. Struggling poet Frances Osgood gets yet another rejection, and told by her publisher to write like Mr. Poe- terrifying stories for women. Frances Osgood wasn’t a fan. Dejected, she found nothing special about The Raven and, more so, the author himself. Yet, after a chance meeting at a literary conversazione, a spark is ignited. Frances Osgood wasn’t supposed to fall in love with Mr. Poe. She was married to a philandering husband where he was, unbeknownst to her,  living the life of a half way struggling artist with a divorcee in Cincinnati, Ohio. Poe, himself was married to his first cousin half his age. In the span of two years, the reader experiences the relationship alongside the ill-fated matched. Both married, their love could never be. It was one spouse in particular that is in the way, Mrs. Virginia Poe. Mrs. Poe takes a liking to Mrs. Osgood that leads to a more complicated relationship than either three were prepared for. Add in a somewhat crazy mom in law, and a simple romance takes a terrifying turn. And, that turn, you’ll only find out if you read this electrifying novel.

I never pictured Poe as a romantic. His stories are the poster children of macabre literature, and in general. There is darkness, death, pain. Yet, here he is, a romantic. Cullen includes poems the lovers sent to each other through his journal Tribune. I expected Osgood to be a romantic poet, considering her main subjects were always flowers that represent femininity, but Mr. sullen, dark Poe, never. The poems are beautiful. The love real.

Lynn Cullen does an excellent on depicting this love story, especially with Edgar Allan Poe. Mrs. Poe was a good character, but in the end there is one character who takes the cake. I was excited by this story after finishing two books I didn’t like very much. I loved this novel. It was fascinating, hearing Frances voice and the enfolding of her affair. I did not expect the thrill of an end; thus making me very satisfied.

The story reads like a story on its own, but then you remember it is heavily based on extensive research, making all that much satisfying and enjoyable. As much as I admired Poe’s work, I feel like we are on intimate terms. As Mrs. Poe calls him, Eddie. And, Frances Osgood is a great female “character” and person that I would have liked to meet. Through the whole novel she was strong, resilient, and a force to be reckoned with. How much really would one not do for real love?  I would highly recommend this book, even if you aren’t familiar with either or both writers. I also feel this novel is just for people fans of historical fiction; nor just for people wanting to read a love story. There are so many dimensions to this novel that I think many people would find enjoyable.

 

 

 

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