March 21, 2013

The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson

Description: An account of the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 relates the stories of two men who shaped the history of the event—architect Daniel H. Burnham, who coordinated its construction, and serial killer Herman Mudgett.
My review: I’ve been meaning to read this one for a few years now, and I finally picked it up. I love Chicago, history, and true crime, so it’s no surprise that I liked this book. I didn’t know much about the 1983 Chicago World’s Fair before reading this, but the book provided plenty of details about the planning and construction of the fair. The book alternates chapters about the architect, Burnham, and the serial killer, Mudgett. Sometimes I found myself hoping that the sections about the architect and the fair would move just a little faster so I could get to the parts about the serial killer because they were more intriguing. I enjoyed Tony Goldwyn's narration of the audiobook, and I think listening to the audio version helped hold my attention better than reading the print book would have, especially during the extremely detailed chapters about the fair.
I recommend The Devil in the White City to readers for its well-researched historical information mixed with an engrossing account of true crime. Some parts of it read almost like a novel, so even those who don’t normally enjoy nonfiction should give this one a try.

March 19, 2013

Top Ten Books I HAD to Have That Still Sit Unread

Top ten books I HAD to have (but are still sitting unread!)
I love to buy books, but I tend to prioritize reading library and NetGalley books over my purchased books (due dates/archive dates apparently motivate me!). However, I decided that 2013 is the year that I will FINALLY tackle my TBR pile on my bookshelf and eReader. I decided to sell several of the print books I bought years ago and delete several of the free eBooks I am no longer interested in reading. This brought my TBR pile down quite a bit, and I only have 73 owned books left to read. This number is less intimidating to me, and I know I can finish them all in a year or two. I'm trying to limit myself to checking out only audiobooks, magazines, and movies from the library which I hope will motivate me to instead pick up the print books and eBooks I own. 
  1. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
  2. Just One Day by Gayle Forman
  3. Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot
  4. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  5. Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone
  6. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
  7. Shine by Lauren Myracle
  8. Every You, Every Me by David Levithan
  9. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  10. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Which books are still sitting on your shelf that you just HAD to have?

March 14, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Description:Despite the medical miracle that has bought her a few more years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, but when Augustus Waters suddenly appears at the Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be rewritten

My Review: As you already know if you follow this blog, John Green is one of my all-time favorite writers, and this is my favorite book he has written so far. I wanted to reread it, but I decided to try the audiobook version this time, and I'm so glad I did! Narrator Kate Rudd does an amazing job capturing Hazel's personality as well as depicting the other characters, and I can see why the audiobook won the 2013 Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production. Despite the seemingly sad subject matter (teens with terminal cancer), this is ultimately a hopeful story with plenty of humor and romance mixed in to balance out the sad parts. It took me on an emotional rollercoaster, but I loved every minute of it! It's also really cool to read a book set mainly in Indianapolis for a change since I recognize all the places mentioned. I highly recommend this book for both teens and adults, especially the wonderful audiobook edition. 

March 7, 2013

House Rules by Jodi Picoult

Description:When your son can't look you in the eye...does that mean he's guilty? Jacob Hunt is a teen with Asperger's syndrome. He's hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, though he is brilliant in many ways. But he has a special focus on one subject - forensic analysis. A police scanner in his room clues him in to crime scenes, and he's always showing up and telling the cops what to do. And he's usually right. But when Jacob's small hometown is rocked by a terrible murder, law enforcement comes to him. Jacob's behaviors are hallmark Asperger's, but they look a lot like guilt to the local police. Suddenly the Hunt family, who only want to fit in, are directly in the spotlight. For Jacob's mother, Emma, it's a brutal reminder of the intolerance and misunderstanding that always threaten her family. For his brother, Theo, it's another indication why nothing is normal because of Jacob. And over this small family, the soul-searing question looms: Did Jacob commit murder?

My review: I've enjoyed several of Jodi Picoult's books, so I decided to give this one a try. Picoult is great at writing about controversial and current topics from multiple perspectives. Her books usually involve some sort of legal battle as well, which keeps me interested as I try to predict what will happen at the end. I was able to figure out one of the big plot twists early on, but it was still interesting to watch all the events and discoveries unfold from different characters' perspectives. It was especially interesting to get in the minds of a character with Asperger's and his family members. If you're a fan of courtroom dramas  and stories about family relationships, pick this one up!  

March 5, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Series I'd Like to Start

Top Ten Series I'd Like to Start I'm actually planning to finish all of the series I'm currently reading before starting any new series, but here are some I'd like to try in the future.

  1. Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
  2. Diviners by Libba Bray
  3. Gallagher Girls by Ally Carter
  4. Heist Society by Ally Carter
  5. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  6. Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
  7. Abandon by Meg Cabot
  8. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
  9. Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
  10. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Have you read any of these series? Which should I pick up first?

March 4, 2013

February Reads

The big news of February is that I started a new job!I'm still working in a public library, but I found a full-time job with great benefits that is a lot closer to home. The shorter and less stressful commute has been wonderful, and it's nice to go back to working only one job! Plus I'm enjoying the fact that I have more time to spend with my husband and the dogs.

I miss my old coworkers and teen patrons a lot, but I am settling in and liking my new job. I work at the Information Desk providing reference, readers' advisory, and genealogy assistance and also in the computer lab assisting patrons and teaching a variety of computer classes. I'll be contributing to social media as well.

Now, on to the books!

I finished 7 books in February. I usually finish more, but I chose longer books this time around. I'm still on track to meet my goal of 100 books in 2013. I read a total of 1, 649 pages and listened to 27.95 hours of audiobooks in February. Of the books I read, 3 were for a genre challenge and 1 was for a presidential challenge. The other 3 were just for fun!

4 Star Reads
This was an interesting read about one teacher's experiences. I could definitely relate as a former high school teacher. 

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
It was my first time reading this classic. I really enjoyed it! I borrowed the new movie version from the library after I finished reading and enjoyed that too. 

A Shot of Sultry by Macy Beckett
This is another great book in my new favorite romance series, and I think I want to move to Sultry Springs, Texas...

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
I was finally able to get a copy from the library, and I read it quickly. What a great thriller!

Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
This was funny and adorable! It was a great read for a snowy day. 

John Adams by David McCullough
This was very well-written and interesting. I never really knew much about John Adams before, but now I'm thinking of reading more about him (and Abigail). 

3 Star Reads
Jane by April Lindner
I enjoyed this adaptation but not quite as much as the original. 

What did you read in February? 


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