2012 Books and Reviews

It’s A Challenge!

2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Buckle Button Zip has
read 23 books toward a goal of 30 books.
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Books I’ve Read in 2012

10 Years That Shook the World: A Timeline of Events from 200110 Years That Shook the World: A Timeline of Events from 2001 by Loretta Napoleoni

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

We are in a state of information and media overload, which makes it difficult to cut through to the truth, see the patterns and understand the lies. This book gives the events of the past 10 years to me in black and white, in a short and concise manner. And now I see everything: politics, policies, environmental changes and social movement, more clearly. Turn off the tv, and read this instead.

The Light Between OceansThe Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A sweeping story of an Australian lighthouse keeper and his wife. The keeper has a soldier’s past and a love for the stoic and lonely life of being in charge of a lighthouse. His wife only longs for the baby she cannot have naturally, until one day a baby appears in a boat washed up to shore. Surely, a sign from God. What unfolds is a tale of choices, ethics and love, both enduring and lost.

Beautiful RuinsBeautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The story is a beautiful intertwining between present and past. Old Hollywood glamor and today’s jaded industry, wartime heroics and the shadows of what war imbeds in the soul and psyche. Love that lingers and the threads that keep it alive within the heart. It’s a well-crafted tale of multiple lives coming together and in the end being better for having known one another.

When God Was a RabbitWhen God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The beginning was strong, then I lost the point in the middle where it became muddled. The last part was well done again, until the last page, where I had to read it over three times to see how it actually ended. I’m still not completely sure. Now that’s a buzz kill.

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WonderstruckWonderstruck by Brian Selznick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It’s different than Hugo Cabret, but it has the same mystical, urgent quality to it. The illustrations and graphic story-telling is in a category by its self. I read this after my daughter brought it home from the library. Wonderful, wonderful story. I would read any book of his.

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Frommer's 500 Places to Take Your Kids Before They Grow UpFrommer’s 500 Places to Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up by Holly Hughes

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great resource for travel-minded parents. The title could easily read 500 places to take anyone, because so many of the great cities, natural places and historic sites are here that appeal to all ages. Still, if it inspires a trip or pushes us to expose our kids to worldly experiences, I’m for it.

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When it Happens to YouWhen it Happens to You by Molly Ringwald

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A story with intersections of people struggling with relationships, marriage, kids and family dynamics. Our beloved Molly Ringwald is also a fantastic writer and expertly captures the nuances of love, regret and choices made in breezy, but complicated California.

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Gone GirlGone Girl by Gillian Flynn

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m predicting this will be the best book I’ll read in 2012. It’s smart (brilliant really), chilling, thrilling, messed-up and addicting. Just go out and get the book. Gillian Flynn is not messing around.

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The Paris WifeThe Paris Wife by Paula McLain

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s a wonderful book and captured my heart enough to make me tear up in places. Written in a way that makes you feel like you’re there, sitting with Fitzgerald, Zelda, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound and the writers and artists that began the ‘Americans in Paris’ fever of the 20s.

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Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True MemoirLet’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Not for the faint of heart. She writes a mostly-true account of her life with biting sarcasm, a skewed reality and laugh-out-loud humor. Like other authors I like (Sedaris, Handler, Crosley) she takes you on a wacked-out version of life that is stranger than fiction. Avoid if you’re not into prolific f-bombs, taxidermy and drama.

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The Brutal Telling (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #5)The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Good murder mystery that’s not too graphic or gory, but has just enough to give you the chills. The tension and cliff-hangers at each chapter kept me reading at a steady clip. Lovely background information on Montreal, Quebec and native tribes. Great set of characters too — I’ll be reading more of the series.

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The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Based on the reviews, this must be one of those love it/hate it books. Put me in the love it camp, because I thoroughly enjoyed it. The pace, the characters, the descriptions and the tension kept me intrigued the whole time. I also loved that the author had bite-sized chapters, because that’s about how much time I have to read — 10 mins. here, 20 mins. there.

The Night Circus was magical, supernatural, romantic, intriguing and had a aching sense of inevitable doom. Erin Morgenstern wrote a beautiful, intricate and imaginative first novel. Looking forward to more.

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Loving FrankLoving Frank by Nancy Horan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I knew a little about the history of Frank Lloyd Wright and the two women in his life before reading it, but didn’t quite remember it all. I have to say that I struggled with Mamah’s character a lot. I couldn’t get past my judgement on her actions with her children. As a mother myself, I can’t imagine any love affair worth that, especially one with a man of unyielding genius and artistic standards. Yes, she was an academic, a feminist and an accomplished women who was yearning for more, but a disproportionate cost seem to be required of her to keep their love affair going. If I ever get to see Taliesan, the home they built together, I’ll be glad to have read this book.

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State of WonderState of Wonder by Ann Patchett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Beautifully written story of a medical researcher who goes in search of her dead colleague in the Amazon forest. Her former medical professor heads up a deep-in-the forest research project, where Marina is traveling to, and has given scant information on the details surrounding the jungle fever that overtook her friend. What Marina finds soothes her past and uncovers a new-found strength that takes hold within herself.

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Full Dark House (Bryant & May, # 1)Full Dark House by Christopher Fowler

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Crime novel set during the World War I in London, England and in present day. A detective duo in their 80s from the Peculiar Crimes Division are stopped in their tracks by a murder suspect who has risen from the past and is intent on killing the pair. The story flips back and forth between current day and the early 1900s when the duo first meet, during an investigation into a series of murders at a theater. First book in a series.

I’m not one for overly grisly murder mysteries and this is one that I could handle. Just the right amount of tension, eeriness and British humor for me. Will definitely read another one from the series.

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A Royal Pain (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #2)A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I’m having fun with this series. They are light mysteries, but they keep me guessing until about 3/4 of the way through the book. It’s the royals, the Downton Abbey-ness, and the likeable characters that keep me reading. Easy to read; easy to like.

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Her Royal Spyness (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #1)Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Took this book on a vacation and it was a good choice. The murder wasn’t too creepy, the main characters were quirky, delightful and likeable and I feel like I’m smack dab in the middle of Downton Abbey. Good by me.

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Cross CurrentsCross Currents by John Shors

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Of course you know going into this book, that devastation is looming and that each person in the story will have to face loss in some way or another. The characters were interesting and you can’t help but fall in love with the Thai people and their warmth. The story unfolded slowly, a bit too slowly for me, but I was happy to have read it.

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An Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean InterludeAn Embarrassment of Mangoes: A Caribbean Interlude by Ann Vanderhoof

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Perfect for those who want to chuck it all and go sailing for a year (or two). I felt like I was living aboard with the Canadian couple who decided to quit their jobs and sail from Toronto to the lower Caribbean islands. Each chapter ends with a recipe that the author made aboard the ship from local food. A great twist on this armchair travel read.

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Vaclav and LenaVaclav and Lena by Haley Tanner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It’s hard to believe that this is a debut novel, because Tanner writes like a seasoned novelist. The story is everything you’d want: unrequited love, skeletons in the closet, people torn apart with no knowledge of how to reach each other and then years later come back together. Perfect ending, right? Well, not quite, because real life isn’t that predictable. But the ending is really quite perfectly Vaclav & Lena.

Love the Russian voice it was written in too, because it pulls you into the story in an authentic way.

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We the AnimalsWe the Animals by Justin Torres

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a starkly written story of three brothers, who half the time are fiercely competitive and the other half are fiercely loyal. Their parents are both absent and selfish and then loving and adoring. The boys are hungry for love, food and their place in the world.

I was completely drawn into this book and the child’s perspective of his life, his parents and his place in the pack of brothers. The writing style is one of the best I’ve read and his ability to show vulnerability, tenderness and anger is compelling.

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Creative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Your LifeCreative Visualization: Use the Power of Your Imagination to Create What You Want in Your Life by Shakti Gawain

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Good for clearing out the cobwebs and training your mind for positive thinking. A friend gave me the companion workbook and I find it very helpful for setting intentions.

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8 responses to “2012 Books and Reviews

  1. Pingback: Inspired by the book: Vaclav & Lena | Buckle Button Zip

  2. Love your book reviews and today’s blog, too! A book to add to your list is “The Paris Wife” by Paula McLain. It’s gotten good reviews. It’s a fiction story based on Ernest Hemingway’s first wife and their years in Paris.

  3. Pingback: Spring Trend: A Sea of Blue | Buckle Button Zip

  4. Pingback: Just Read: State of Wonder and Full Dark House | Buckle Button Zip

  5. Pingback: Catching Up | Buckle Button Zip

  6. Pingback: Just Finished: Gone Girl + 4 others | Buckle Button Zip

  7. Pingback: Just Read: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore + 9 more | Buckle Button Zip

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