2013 Book Reviews

Another year, another batch of books to be discovered. In the last few years I’ve read about 20-25 books in a year, which is a fair amount, but I wish it was more. If you’re looking for a good book to read, look for it here. If you have a good book to suggest, leave me a comment.

Books I’ve Read in 2013

The People of Sparks (Book of Ember, #2)The People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A good follow-up to City of Ember, but not quite as wonderful. Lina and Doon continue to be soulful, smart catalysts for change and worthy leaders. Probably will not read the third book in the series, but might skip to the last book instead. I’d target this YA for middle school readers rather than upper elementary. Less adventurous, with deeper social themes.

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The City of Ember (Book of Ember, #1)The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great book with a strong girl character who’s curious, independent, morally-driven and smart. And it turns out her best ally is a old school friend, who is a boy. There are themes of worry, despair, talk of rationing food and deception, but overall it’s a book of hope, action and mystery. Great for adults and YA audience and probably ok for upper elementary readers.

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The Runaway PrincessThe Runaway Princess by Hester Browne

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Fun summer read (or home with a cold) for anyone who fantasizes about the romances of real women and royalty, a la Kate Middleton and Prince William. Well-written, smart, cheeky and girly. But not dumb-girly. Think of it being like a favorite romantic comedy.

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Clean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body's Natural Ability to Heal ItselfClean: The Revolutionary Program to Restore the Body’s Natural Ability to Heal Itself by Alejandro Junger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While I feel pretty healthy, I suspect that I could do a lot better. After reading Dr. Junger book describing the effects of our modern diet, food additives and toxins it doesn’t take much to be convinced. We have gotten so far away from what truly nourishes our body. I’m excited about this book. Enough to make my husband read it as soon as I finished it. We’re making a plan to do the detox diet soon. This will be the next level of better eating for me. Then, we’ll see if I’m ready for the Clean diet.

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Superfoods: The Food and Medicine of the FutureSuperfoods: The Food and Medicine of the Future by David Wolfe

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

David Wolfe knows his superfoods. I’m always looking to tweak my diet and to feel even better. Most of these superfoods I already know about, but don’t eat consistently. His research and knowledge of foods have given me a soft push to add them to my grocery cart each week. We’ve gotten so far away from what’s really good for our bodies.

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Cesar Millan's Short Guide to a Happy Dog: 98 Essential Tips and TechniquesCesar Millan’s Short Guide to a Happy Dog: 98 Essential Tips and Techniques by Cesar Millan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Such a great resource for dog training and establishing boundaries, pecking order and when (and how) to reward your dog. Organized so it’s easy to read and get the concepts quickly. I really loved his suggestions on how to pick a new dog. Will be so helpful to me and my family when we are ready to adopt.

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The Last Letter from Your LoverThe Last Letter from Your Lover by Jojo Moyes

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An aching love story between two people who never seem to get their timing right. What would you do if you woke after an accident with no memory of your life, your family or friends, and found a box of letters from your lover. Set mostly in the 60s when all the traditional rules for women and marriage still applied.

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Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour BookstoreMr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Worlds collide between old and new, ancient texts and the digital frontier in a centuries-old quest for the ultimate secret. Book lovers and computer hackers alike will find something to love in this story. Gender neutral or maybe I should say, appealing to all.

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The Secret Lives of Wives: Women Share What It Really Takes to Stay MarriedThe Secret Lives of Wives: Women Share What It Really Takes to Stay Married by Iris Krasnow

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A friend told me she was reading this book, so I decided to read it too. Pulling the curtain back on other people’s marriages is fascinating. One marriage is not like another and that’s a clear message from the book. A marriage can be structured to fit the lives and desires of two unique people, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. I appreciate the wisdom of those who have lived a long marriage. I didn’t love the undercurrent of men-bashing/seething that most of the women expressed. But maybe after 15 more years, I’ll come to understand that better.

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The Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and ConfidenceThe Curse of the Good Girl: Raising Authentic Girls with Courage and Confidence by Rachel Simmons

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read this book for an upcoming class that I’m doing with my daughter. There were many uncomfortable moments during reading where I felt like I could be in a therapy session for myself. Hello. I’m a recovering Good Girl. The good news is that I can hold the mirror up to myself and try to serve my daughter better. Rachel Simmons writes a well-researched, well-presented case for raising Real Girls over Good Girls. Ones with an authentic voice and ability to navigate social dynamics without sacrificing themselves. Let’s hope.

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One response to “2013 Book Reviews

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

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