Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What I read in 2010

Over at my buddy Camille's blog she chatted it up about the books she's read this year. Her list is quite diverse, as is the woman. So, I am making a list of my own. I hope this is contagious and lots of people post what they've read this year and even maybe books they're eyeing for 2011. This is a great way to have almost a mini-book club.

YEAH, that's it. The Mini Book Club. We meet once a year and dish on all the reads, the good and the oh so bad.

What did I read this year? Well, there were spurts where I went on author binges. Reading as much as possible of a particular author. Then after fully gorging myself I'd change not only authors but genres.

In no particular order here's what I got....

The Nicky Sparks Fest
*Tissues used for all. Some more than others but he got me every time.

A Bend in the Road~ Fate and circumstance toss this widower and school teacher together. Overcoming loss and finding forgiveness lay the groundwork to a great love story.

The Rescue ~ Another one of his best. All the characters are compelling. Especially Kyle, a four year old with a learning disability that will melt your heart. Taylor, the fireman, is the wounded hero and Denise, the protective mother hopes for a better future. Most Sparks need to be read with tissues, this one you need extra.

Safe Haven~ Abused woman on the run, widower looking for love. Time heals all wounds but psycho hubby is on the hunt. Great story and much from the crazed abuser's POV. Different for Sparks, didn't disappoint.

The Guardian~ Widowed woman, the said deceased's BFF always loved her. They let love blossom while evading a stalker. Good.

Message In A Bottle~ Holy tissues Batman. If you've seen the movie, you ain't seen nothing until you read it.

The Choice~ Woman torn between current love and her new neighbor. Awesome testament to the power of love. You think the choice is hers, but its really his. Super sappy and I loved every second.

Dear John~ Book far better than the movie. Lot and lots of tissues. The relationship with John and his father is so much deeper here. The ending, not as hopeful as the movie. Loved it.

The Lucky One~ Guy finds a photo in Iraq of a girl. She becomes his lucky charm. He falls in love with the girl from the photo. Once home he goes on a search to find her and return it. So much more happens, as you can guess.

True Believer~ NYC hot shot reporter goes to small town and falls for the the librarian.

At First Sight ~ One of my faves. Loved it, loved it all. A sequel to True Believer. Shows life after the HEA. I want more Jeremy Marsh.

A Walk to Remember~ Young love, life changing romance, mega nose blower. Ten times better than the movie.

*I can't seem to want to read The Last Song. All I see is Hannah Montana. As the mother of a tweener I've seen enough of the young lady thank you very much.

James Patterson ~ Before the fall from grace with me. I stopped reading the mega giant after that NYT article. I kind of lost a little respect.

I, Alex Cross ~ It's Alex Cross. Can't ever go wrong with the man.

When the Wind Blows ~ First book in what later becomes the Maximum Ride Series for YA readers. Not bad but not my thing.

Step on A Crack~ Broke my heart not to want to buy anymore Patterson cause this series has potential to surpass the Alex Cross series. Great characters and secondary plots. One scene made me tear up a bit.

Swimsuit ~One of his best, co-written, but its been on the bestsellers list for over 2 years. Still love it. Wicked killer. Truly twisted.

Beach Road ~ Great read until the end. It was a WTF moment and totally contrived.

You've Been Warned ~ The most annoying book I've ever read. Garbage.

Sam's Letter to Jennifer  ~Romance and a tear jerker. Very good.

Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas ~Same as above. Current girlfriend gets the diary of the dead wife written for her son. Given to her by the man as he breaks up with her. Super sad. Super loving. Super hopeful.

Nora Roberts
Sea Swept
Inner Harbor
Montana Sky
Hidden Treasures
Black Hills

The first two I enjoyed. It had a family saga element that spoke to me and my own WIP's cast of characters. After that I lost interest fast in her writing. It's the same exact formula, no deviation, no depth, not much really that stays with you.

Formula- Heroine has a bad day and the villain is the cause. Heroine meets or reconnects with hero. Sparks fly and they both vow not to give into such temptation. Villain keeps them bumping into each other. Hot sex consummates an instant falling in love or rekindling of it. Villain strikes. They fight the bad guy. They win. They make nooky one last time. The End. Sometimes secondary characters hook up too.

Janet Evanovich
Thanksgiving~ Cute story, enjoyed it. Fluff piece about a tour guide is Williamsburg VA, the new doctor, and an abandoned baby.

Plum Lovin' ~ I couldn't get into it enough to care to finish. Bounty hunter with paranormal tendencies. Yawn.
Jodi Piccoult
Handle with Care ~Amazing. Makes you question what you'd do in the situation. Woman sues her BFF and OB/GYN about missing something in an ultrasound and if she knew she may have aborted the baby.  The said child has brittle bone disease as it about 7 years old. The suit, if won, would give them the money to give the child the best medical care but the moral costs are way high in this one. Who says in a courtoom that if they would've known their kid would've turned out broken, they would have aborted? If she doesn't she can't properly care for her...

Emily Giffin
Love the One You're With ~ You're rooting for an affair and feel just as bad as the heroine. When the heroine sees an old flame, it's on like Donkey Kong.  Awesome.
I never wanted to slap in-laws so bad before, besides my own!

Eileen Goudge
Domestic Affairs ~ Great plot of past secrets and life altering events that thrust old friends and flames together. There was a secondary plot I totally skipped but a good read overall.

Diana Gabaldon
The Outlander ~ Jamie Fraser is one of the most compelling characters I've ever read. Even at 800 pages, some of which I skipped, it is amongst one of my all time faves. Time Travel, Highlanders, Sex, Violence, and Love. She had me at the kilt!

Jennifer Haymore
A Touch of Scandal ~  My first Regency Romance. An easy fluff read. Duke, scandal, revenge, a lower class maiden, and forbidden ha cha cha, but not so bad.

Robyn Carr
Virgin River ~ Free at the NJ RWA Conference. Not bad, hero very adorable. Predictable but touching in places.

Angel's Peak ~ Annoyed at it. But I read this first and it's not the first in the series. I felt all the chaps from various POVs from people I could care less about took away from the overall plot. The hero seemed a little too forgiving he'd just found out about his three year old daughter. Sex was hot though. But the plot was all too predictable.

James Waller
Bridges of Madison County ~ This was my second read of the book. The first time was in my early twenties. Reading it some ten years later, a different and more compelling read all together. A Midwestern wife and mother looks forward to a week without the hubby and kids. A photographer stops for directions and life isn't so boring or lonely anymore. They have a few days of love that last a lifetime. Oh, Francesca and Robert, I wish things worked out differently! The movie was amazing and the book even more so. Cried my arse off.

Sandra Brown
Not Even For Love ~ Another re-read. Just wanted to see what an old fashioned romance read like. Didn't disappoint. Sweet and follows the tried and true Romance formula. Bookkeeper in Europe helps a stranded photographer during a rainstorm. Sex and a quick smell ya later. They bump into each as her engagement is announced. He is hired to be the photographer. Typical but a nice read.

Dan Brown
Angels & Demons ~ Murder, Kidnapping, the Vatican,  Art, Science, and Conspiracy. Need I say more?

The Lost Symbol ~ The White House, Masons, History, and of course murder. Not as good as Brown's two previous reads but still keeps you interested enough to finish. Great twist at the end. What's lost in this one is the religious "what if" aspect of DaVinci and Angels.

Pete Hamill
Forever ~ Young Cormac O'Connor witnesses his parents murder in 1741 Ireland. As a true Celtic man he must avenge their deaths all the way to the end of the blood line. It takes him to New York City. There he befriends slaves, indentured servants, and fights for justice while stalking his prey. When his plans go to hell, he is near death. One of the Africans he helped is a Shaman and gives him the gift of eternal life. With a catch. He can't leave the island of Manhattan. Here, you see NY and American history through his eyes. It spans from the Revolutionary War to the 9-11 attacks. Brilliant! Loved it!

Books I am reading right now...

Steig Larsson
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo ~ It was hard in the beginning but I wanted to see what the hype was about. I cheated and watched the Swedish movie. Loved it and love the book now that I picked it up again.

Elizabeth Gilbert
Eat, Pray, Love ~ I am still on the eat part. I really liked it in the beginning but its lost my interest. Can't seem to care enough to continue on. It's a memoir and I am not sure I can relate to a woman who was paid to globe trot for a year to write said book about being a thirty something divorcee trying to find herself. Give me some money and I'll give you a memoir about a thirty something wife and mother trying to write and book and get published.

William P. Young
The Shack~ Interesting read about a guy whose daughter is brutally murdered. Three years later he gets a note to meet in the shack where she was killed. The message contains things only few would know. It could only be from the murderer or from God.

J.D. Robb
Naked in Death ~ The first in the famous Eve and Roarke series about futuristic NY, a cop, and a billionaire thrust together by a series of murders. This is SOOO not my thing. But its research for a Blog I'll be posting on in the New Year on Romance and Mystery. I read that this couple rank among the elite as far as romantic couples in literature are concerned. My take so far, that's some bull caca. This is sooo cheesy and typical. I actually vomited a little in my mouth reading lines like, "she had a mouth made for sex". Really? If a guy said that about me I'd be looking for my cash on the night stand. There are some moments where I think I may get to know these famous characters on a deeper level. But it's only a line or two and the cheese commences. Not a good cheese either. Canned cheese. Barf. BTW. J.D. Robb is Nora Roberts.

Now, I hate to sound so negative about Nora. She's the queen of Romance and a God on the NYT list. I guess, for the formula Romance genre, she's doing her thing well. She has to be right? I guess I need something a little more deeper to read. Something that sticks.

Jonathan Franzen
The Corrections ~ This was a hit in 2001. Prizes and nominations galore. A very Literary Read. And I am loving every second of all the dysfunction with these characters. Basically Enid wants to get her family together for one last Christmas before Pops goes into a retired care facility, he has severe Parkinson's. Her kids are as crazy as she is. One, a famous chef contemplatyes having an affair with her boss and his wife. The one son got fired from his teaching job at a university for sleeping with a student. He goes off the deep end writing a Clinton/Lewinsky inspired screenplay that mirrors his own failures. And the other son has a smothering wife and kids. The wife emasculates him at every turn. Enid does her best for a family gathering that may do more harm than good. I am laughing out loud in parts. Who knew Literary Fiction could be this much fun!

So, for 2011 I am finishing up the reads above. My goal is to read all of Jane Austen's Novels, The Bell Jar, Water for Elephants, The Swan Thieves, Fragments, The Hunger Games, and any sappy romances along the way.

What have you read this year? What will you read this upcoming year?


  1. My God Charli! With all that reading how on earth have you had time to write and/or critique anything! You've got me by a mile--and such diversity. Wonderful. I will take your suggestion about posting my reads for the year on my blog. Great idea for tomorrow's post. Thanks:)

  2. holy snapper woman! I can't remember everything I've read this past year. But in the past couple of months I've read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Sin Undone by Larissa Ione, Hush, Hush and Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick, Shiver and Linger by Maggie Stiefvater, and I'm starting Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix...I'm just trying to get through all the books I have sitting on my book shelf..but I would like to finish up the Harry Potter series before the last movie comes out in June 2011, but that's probably not going to happen.


  3. I am happy to see the J.D. Robb series. I own every book in that series. After about the third book in you get hooked. Good list, I love the diversity and the fact that other people have read most of the books I have too.

  4. My favorite reads this year are: Chocolate by JoAnne Harris. Whimsical and life affirming. And a second read of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Phillip K. Dick. Great sci-fi noir.

    I started at least ten different romance novels and as of this date have not finished a single one. Really, really scary, considering...

  5. I'm melting with envy over the volume of books you've read this year. I'm a slow reader; I must learn to read faster so that I might read all the books that are on my list and in my pile. Do you complete the reading of before you begin the next or move to and fro between them until completion?

  6. Robin, can't wait to read your post. I love talking about what we are reading.

    Kris, it's easy to read this much when you ignore your family. My kid is 12, likes to ignore me too and wipes her own arse. Hubby pokes his head out of the Xbox in to time help with chores (including bedroom duties). I got it easy.

    Megan, I will let you know how I feel about Eve and Roarke when I'm done. So far, it's not looking good.

    Jill, I love finding out about books that were made into movies I love. So going out to read Chocolate. Love anything Noir but not sure about the sci-fi. Cool genre mash-up. Genre Romances of late, I've been hitting the snooze button too.

    Gerri, I used to to read slow. Now that I read not only for fun but for craft, it flies by. I read about two or four books at once. I read on the train to and from work. In the tub and before bed. I keep different ones all over the house. I have ADHD in a sense.

  7. At the Pennwriter's conference I vowed to read at least 2 books a week until the next conference. I also work a reg job and write. So far I have averaged 3 books per week. 87 in all. I've read most of Burkes, Grisham, Lisa's, Patterson's, Nora's, Tami's and others. I read some classics including Moby Dick, Last of the Mohican's, Treasure Island and Swiss family Robinson. I read On the road by Kerocack. The Shack by Young, Rules for Radicals by Salinsky, Catcher in the Rye and HOPI. I tried Wicked but could not get through it, perhaps I will pick it up again. Most of the books are a blur to me now and I sometimes get a book only to realize I've read it all ready. I also go to all booksignings in my area and buy a book. I probably picked up another 15-20 that way. Currently I'm reading THE ORACLE. I hope to finish it tomorrow.

  8. In addition to published works, I also read three manuscripts this year for writer buddies looking to get published. In fact, I just completed a 400 page "hard" SF ms by a writer I've known for 15 years and he'd been working on it for 10. It was fantastic.

    Other books I've read in 2010 that stand out in my mind for better or worse include Foundation's Fear by Gregory Benford. This is the first of three sequels to Isaac Asimov's classic Foundation series. All I remember is looooong, plodding, stultifying pacing through most of 600 pages. I have the other two by David Brin and Greg Bear which I hope are better.

    I also read Peace Lord of the Red Planet, the second SF novel by Steven H. Wilson which was a rather unique story about belief systems and learning to accept stark differences in cultures.

    Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide from New York's Acclaimed Creative Writing School was one of my educational readings for the year. This was a fun book that takes you through different aspects of fiction writing with exercises to keep you sharp.

    On the paranormal side, it was GHOST by Katherine Ramsland and Seeking Spirits, the second offering from Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson of the Ghost Hunters SyFy series. It was co-written by an acquaintance of mine, NYT bestseller Michael Jan Friedman.

    A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink was another educational and interesting book about how right-brained people will be more valuable in the future than left-brainers. I read this early in the year but what impressed me were Pink's theories that people who possess the talent to create a "satisying narrative" who show empathy, understanding, inventiveness, creativity will be dominant. I liked that message!

  9. Walt, 3 books a week! Great goal. So awesome. I saw On The Road in the book store today, reading that after my current selection.

    Pguinta, I don't read much Sci-fi but you've given me many options to explore. I heard lots of great things about Ghost and I love the SyFy Ghost Hunters series, I am definitely picking that one up.

  10. I just browsed your "read" list and you had me at Outlander :D I frickin' love Jamie Fraser. ;)