2014 Library of Alexandra Book Awards: Fiction

2014 Library of Alexandra Awards: Fiction

As the new year dawns, it seemed like the perfect time to share my favorite books of 2014.  Though I read roughly the same number of books in 2014 as 2013 , 94 to last year’s 90, I read the largest number of pages yet!

Over the month of January I will share my favorite books across four categories: short stories, fiction, memoirs & real history and young adult fiction. Today I am talking about fiction. 

Continue reading “2014 Library of Alexandra Book Awards: Fiction”

Christmas Gift Card Picks

If you’re anything like me, you probably got a few gift cards for Christmas. Though I know I should spread the “wealth” over the next few months, I can never sit on a gift card long. Here are a few of my suggestions for spending that Barnes and Noble/Amazon/Independent bookstore gift card that’s burning a hole in your pocket:

the joy luck club by amy tan
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

Who doesn’t want a little of everyone else’s family drama after the holidays?!

Continue reading “Christmas Gift Card Picks”

Short Reviews: Everything Else

It always happens that by the end of the year there are titles that I’ve started to review and never finished. Here are some short reviews to tide you over until I start my “Best of” posts!


The Magicians by Lev Grossman

The Magicians by Lev Grossman

What happens when you get to live your favorite book? It’s every booklover’s dream – stepping inside the pages of your favorite world and having adventures. But what if everything wasn’t as much fun as it seemed from afar?

Lev Grossman imagines a world in which a group of magicians trained at a magical boarding school find another world, one written about by a reclusive writer who imagined a group of siblings who became king of the other world.

Sounds a little familiar…right? In a rather bizarre mash-up of Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia and Catcher in the Rye, Grossman manages to create his own story. He benefits from the readers background knowledge of Narnia by building on the assumptions. This only makes what happens so much more surprising .

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood

Oryx and Crake is the first in the Maddam Trilogy set in the future United States where global warming has made the earth mostly inhabitable, and civilization has moved onto compounds surrounded by heavy security. The book is told from the perspective of Jimmy, a friend of the mad genius Crake. The narration switches Jimmy in the past, and Snowman (future Jimmy). As always, Atwood has an incredible way of creating a believable world, not only in that it is so fully developed but also in that you believe it could actually exist. I won’t lie, this was a tough slog. Maybe it was because I was listening to the audiobook, but the book took a long time to draw me in. I am very happy that I stuck with it to the end though, it’s so creepy!

Life Mask by Emma Donoghue

Life Mask by Emma Donoghue

You’ve heard me rave about Donoghue before. Her short story collection The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits and her novel Room are among my most loved books. This book, however, is not. Life Mask tells the story of a group of friends in 18th century England, alternating between following different characters. As with most books that switch up viewpoints, I had clear favorites and found myself annoyed with the story lines of others. Donoghue’s Miss Farren and  Anne Damer shine but Lord Derby and King George fall a bit flat.


Christmas 2012: Books I Recommend

I’ve already posted the books that I’ve been coveting this year, but I wanted to share my suggestions for stocking stuffers with you guys! I’ve read all of the books below this year and HIGHLY recommend them. Check them out and let me know what you think!

Astray by Emma Donoghue
  • I’ll admit I’m usually not a fan of short stories – just when you get to know the characters they leave! However, since discovering The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits while on the Kenyon-Exeter Program (2010-2011) I have fallen in love with Donoghue’s short fiction. She has an amazing ability to introduce and develop characters in a very small space. Her newest collection, Astray, is about comings and goings, immigrations and emigrations.
When She Woke by Hillary Jordan
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
  • This is the only one that I didn’t discover in the past year. I snuck it in here because the sequel, Shadow of Night came out this summer. There’s so much to love about A Discover of Witches – set in the Bodleian Library, involves hints (or a lot, really) of the supernatural, strong female characters… Check out my view the sequel here.
The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
  • Previously reviewed here.
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
  • Though her newest novel Gone Girl has received much critical acclaim, I prefer her earlier work. Sharp Objects was a bit of an underground classic at my high school and it became a secret code for my best friend and I. “WICKED above her hipbone, GIRL across her heart.”