Tag Archives: year of books

mcpolish book list: year 12

15 Nov

A lot of reading happened this year. A lot. Possibly my best reading year yet, numbers-wise? Could be. I’d have to go back through my files and check. But just trust me that it’s probably my best reading year yet, because frankly I feel too lazy to actually go back and check.

I can attribute all the reading to two big factors. First, that for much of this reading year I had a lengthy train commute to and from work. Second, I had another baby.

Wait, whuut? What does having a baby have to do with an uptick in reading? As I explained last time I had a baby tiny humans expect to be fed frequently, and there’s not much else you can do while feeding them except read books or watch TV. (Or read books while watching TV.) And while there are many shows I’m engrossed in, and rewatching (I’m looking at you, original Will & Grace series), TV gets real old, real fast.

So. BOOKS!

And voila, we have a lengthy list for RY18.

Check out the list below!

Books completed between November 10, 2017 and November 9, 2018

  1. The Bookshop on the Corner–Jenny Colgan* (I have found a new author to love and now I MUST READ EVERYTHING SHE’S WRITTEN.)
  2. Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe–Jenny Colgan*
  3. Paw and Order–Spencer Quinn (This is one of the books in the middle of the Chet and Bernie series, I think. I liked it overall, but I could not overlook the fact that Chet always describes things vividly in color, though in real life dogs see in black and white.)
  4. Just One of the Guys–Kristan Higgins*
  5. Christmas at Little Beach Street Bakery–Jenny Colgan*
  6. Rumor Has It–Jill Mansell*
  7. Marrying Up–Wendy Holden*
  8. Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweet Shop of Dreams–Jenny Colgan*
  9. The Christmas Surprise–Jenny Colgan*
  10. You and Me, Always–Jill Mansell*
  11. Little Fires Everywhere–Celeste Ng* (Book club read)
  12. Solo–Jill Mansell* (It’s like every time something can go wrong in this book, it does.)
  13. Shades of Milk and Honey–Mary Robinette Kowal (Book club read)
  14. The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris–Jenny Colgan* (Interestingly, I was not as in love with this book as I have been her others. I’m not sure what it was. By the end of it I was definitely into it, and it seemed to pick up speed. But…eh, I don’t know. It seemed a little…disjointed? Is that the word I’m looking for? Perhaps. I did like the recipes at the end, though.)
  15. The Woman in the Window–AJ Finn* (Book club read) (First of all, let’s talk about how I didn’t realize that a guy wrote this book. I’m not sure if that matters or not, but it kind of shocked me. Second, I stayed up way too late finishing this, and then had to wake up Swede to talk to me because I was too jacked up to go to sleep. It reminded me a lot of The Girl on the Train, but with a much more likeable heroine.)
  16. An American Marriage–Tayari Jones (Book club read) (I don’t think I liked ANY of the characters in this book. The story was interesting, but I kept getting side tracked by my dislike of all the characters, with the exception of a few of them, like Big Roy.)
  17. The Tuscan Child–Rhys Bowen* (Another standalone from Bowen. The descriptions of the Italian countryside and food are simply terrific. I will say that the solving-of-the-mystery part seemed a little vague to me, though. Like, the main character had all these THOUGHTS about the solution, and then, oh, hey, yes, it’s all true. It could have used some beefing up, maybe? But maybe that’s just because I didn’t want the book to end.)
  18. The Weekenders–Mary Kay Andrews*
  19. My Kind of You–Tracy Brogan* (WOW that wrapped up really fast at the end. Almost like her editor was all, “Okay, we’ve reached page and word count. Need to get this thing ended.”)
  20. Perfect Scoundrels–Ally Carter*
  21. Double Crossed (novella)–Ally Carter
  22. Fools Rush In–Kristan Higgins
  23. The Immortalists–Chloe Benjamin* (Book Club read) (To be honest, I had a lot of issues with this book, mostly with the pacing of Varya’s story, and Klara’s ending seemed to come out of nowhere, but overall it’s a good read. And I guess makes you think. Really I recommend it for Simon’s story, which was the best one by far, IMHO. After his they all seemed a little meh.)
  24. I Take You–Eliza Kennedy (Very funny in spots, but toward the end it gets pretty preachy about bed hopping, which was distracting.)
  25. Crazy Rich Asians–Kevin Kwan* (I liked this book a LOT, and am looking forward to reading his others, but I have to say that the ending was incredibly disappointing and anti-climactic.)
  26. Now That You Mention It–Kristan Higgins*
  27. The Curvy Girls Club (Book 1)–Michele Gorman*
  28. All Fall Down (An Embassy Row Novel, Book 1)–Ally Carter* (I like this book a lot, and I am excited to read the next books in the series, but like with other books of Carter’s, there were points where I felt like the writing was trying to be too…something. Descriptive, maybe? Or metaphorical? I’m not sure what exactly, but it left me confused in spots, like she couldn’t quite nail writing how a plot point gets discovered or resolved by a character, and just sort of writes around it. It was distracting, but didn’t really harm my overall enjoyment of the book.)
  29. China Rich Girlfriend–Kevin Kwan*
  30. The Death of Mrs. Westaway–Ruth Ware* (Book club read) (It’s labeled as a thriller, but I didn’t find it as gripping as I did Woman in the Window. That said, I was very intrigued by the plot line and finding out the answers to the mystery questions.)
  31. Once in a Blue Moon Lodge–Lorna Landvik*
  32. Beautiful Lies–Lisa Unger (Book Club Read) (I wish the author had answered a few more of the questions that came up in this book, and there was definitely a little over-explaining filler that could have been edited out/revised, but all in all it kept me reading until the end, so that’s a good thing.)
  33. Perfect Timing–Jill Mansell*
  34. This Could Change Everything–Jill Mansell*
  35. Sheer Mischief–Jill Mansell*
  36. The Endless Beach–Jenny Colgan*
  37. The Little Perfume Shop off the Champs-Elysees–Rebecca Raisin
  38. Four Funerals and Maybe A Wedding–Rhys Bowen*
  39. A Walk in the Park–Jill Mansell* (Thank God she has written so many books because I apparently am reading ALLLLLLLLLL of them this year.)
  40. Take a Chance on Me–Jill Mansell* (See? ALLLLLLLL THE JILL MANSELL THIS YEAR.)
  41. Good at Games–Jill Mansell* (ALLLLLL of them!)
  42. Somebody to Love–Kristan Higgins*
  43. The Next Best Thing–Kristan Higgins
  44. Sophia of Silicon Valley–Anna Yen*
  45. The One You Really Want–Jill Mansell* (ALL!)
  46. Falling for You–Jill Mansell*
  47. Thinking of You–Jill Mansell*
  48. Paris for One–Jojo Moyes* (Was not expecting a collection of short stories but there you have it, and they all have a happy ending. Bonus.)
  49. The Naturals–Jamie Lynn Barnes*
  50. Don’t Want to Miss A Thing–Jill Mansell*
  51. Head Over Heels–Jill Mansell* (This is getting a little out of control.)
  52. The Trouble with Lexie—Jessica Anya Blau
  53. Three Amazing Things About You–Jill Mansell*
  54. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine–Gail Honeyman* (Book club read) (This is, hands down, one of the best characters I’ve ever read.)
  55. One Plus One—Jojo Moyes* (Book club read)

 

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mcpolish book list: year 11

15 Nov

Well, Interweb friends, we’ve come to the end of RY2017, and reviewing the list of books I’ve read this year, I can say it’s been a good reading year.

Well, let’s face it. Any year that I read is a good reading year.

Don’t be alarmed that partway through this list my ambition to give you a quick, three-point review fell by the wayside. Life, it turns out, is very tiring, and sometimes you just need to let some things go in order for your head to not explode. And sometimes, that thing is explaining what you liked about a book, rather than just tacking on a recommended asterisk. And sometimes sometimes, that thing is also ensuring that your coat is buttoned properly, and you haven’t skipped a button thus throwing off the alignment of your coat and bewildering you for hours as to why your coat suddenly doesn’t fit.

Look at me! Growing! Learning! Being an adult and shit!

Anyway, here you go, reader friends. Perhaps you’ll pick up one of these paperbacks/hardbacks/ebooks, and if you do, won’t you share what you think? And if you have any recommendations from your own reading lists, you know who to send them to.*

*Me. You should send your recommendations to me. 

Books completed between November 10, 2016 and November 9, 2017

So as not to get too wordy, I’m taking the same approach as I do with my movie lists, and giving you three sentences or less about each of these books.**  You’re welcome.

**And then, as you’ll see, eventually three sentences just got to be too much. So we’re back to the * denoting those books I recommend, no explanation of why or how. I’M A MYSTERY LIKE THAT. AND LAZY.

  • My One and Only*–Kristan Higgins (1. Turns out I like Kristan Higgins’ standalones as much as I like her series! 2. I like the Cape Cod setting, and now want a cottage there. 3. I’m not so sure I like Harper and Nick together, I feel like he still has some growing to do.)
  • If You Only Knew*–Kristan Higgins (1. Not quite as romance-y as her other books, and I liked that about it. 2. Definitely a good, fast read. 3. I wanted to slap some sense into the married sister, but in the end I really liked her.)
  • Foreign Affairs–Alison Lurie (1. This book won a Pulitzer in 1984 for fiction. 2. I don’t really know why. 3. It was a nice book, but I didn’t find it enthralling by any means.)
  • Four Friends–Robyn Carr (1. I think this may have been a departure from Carr’s romance novels into more of women’s fiction. 2. I didn’t like it as much as I liked Virgin River. 3. For some reason this reminded me of the show Designing Women, and I have no idea why.)
  • Someday, Someday, Maybe*–Lauren Graham (1. Did you know Lauren Graham wrote a book? 2. I couldn’t help but read the main character’s voice in Lorelei Gilmore’s voice. 3. I want there to be a sequel to this book so we can see how her acting career turns out.)
  • Radio Girls*–Sarah-Jane Stratford (1. This is a time period [the 1920s/1930s] that I’ve really enjoyed reading about lately. 2. I totally looked up to see what about this story was fact, and what was fiction. 3. Lesbians! and Gays! in high society in the 20s and 30s!)
  • The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend*–Katarina Bivald (1. I didn’t want this book to end. 2. I didn’t want this book to end. 3. I didn’t want this book to end.)
  • Unfinished Business–Nora Roberts (1. It’s amazing when you read a romance novel that is well written vs. one that is horribly written, and Nora Roberts is that difference (in that she writes romance well, particularly given how prolific she is). 2. I love reading romance novels from Back in the Day, as it’s always a bit jarring to realize we’re talking about a pre-smartphone, pre-Interwebs era. 3. The main characters are just soooooo overwrought and dramatic.)
  • Eligible*–Curtis Sittenfeld (1.This is the first book by Sittenfeld that I’ve actually enjoyed. 2. I’ve never read Pride & Prejudice, but do I really need to, as this seems to be the exact same thing just with emails and planes rather than carriages and letters? 3. Why Liz Bennet doesn’t just throw her sisters and her mother off a cliff I don’t know.)
  • The Inn at Rose Harbor–Debbie Macomber (1. Was this the first book Macomber ever wrote? Because it reads like it. 2. Surprisingly, I got to the end of this and realized it’s the first book in a series and yet had no desire to read the subsequent books. 3. The writing lacks style.)
  • The Interestings–Meg Wolitzer* (1. Gad, I just love Meg Wolitzer’s writing style. Dense and beautiful and engaging. 2. Jules’ character never really grows up, does she? She kind of stays an annoying, emotionally stunted teenager well into her 50s. 3. Ash is annoying. And so is her brother.)
  • Staying at Daisy’s–Jill Mansell* (1. I wasn’t expecting much, since I picked this up as part of a 99 cents box set from Book Bub, and was happily surprised at how much I enjoyed it. 2. This makes me want to move to the English countryside. 3. Egads there are a lot of plotlines going on in this story.)
  • Millie’s Fling–Jill Mansell* (1. Ah, Cornwall. How I wish to visit thee. 2. I particularly like how Orla Hart’s storyline ends. 3. Again with the other romances/narratives taking more of a prominent role than the one that’s top-billed.)
  • An Offer You Can’t Refuse–Jill Mansell* (1. Strange–or not–that the Lola/Dougie narrative seems to take a backseat to every other plot in this book. 2. This seems to be a regular thing of Mansell’s books. 3. It’s a light, fun read so I don’t much care about which narrative does what, to be honest.)
  • The Unexpected Consequences of Love–Jill Mansell* (1. Sophie’s story, while billed as the main story, really comes across as secondary to the rest of the characters. 2. Wow, they really gloss over some major trauma, and yet, I’m perfectly okay with that. 3. I want to go live in this seaside village, it sounds so quaint and uncomplicated[ish].)
  • Lola’s Secret–Monica McInerney (1. This may be the first MM book that I really did not so much care for. 2. It’s been a loooong time since I read The Alphabet Sisters, and thus, I couldn’t keep Carrie and Bett straight, and honestly, didn’t really try. 3. I’m bothered by the fact that the storyline of the young girl whose parents always fought didn’t have an outcome that was as happy as possible for the situation, given that’s how the other storylines of hotel guests turned out.)
  • Fast Girl: Running from Madness–Suzy Favor Hamilton*
  • Today Will Be Different–Maria Semple*
  • The Woman Who Stole My Life–Marian Keyes* (This read almost like two separate stories to me. Odd.)
  • Vintage–Susan Gloss
  • The Expats–Chris Pavone(RECOMMENDED I GUESS BUT OH MY GOD THE THING THE HUSBAND DOES WHERE HE TICKLES THE WIFE’S PALM WITH HIS FINGER TO INDICATE HE WANTS SEX TOTALLY MAKES ME WANT TO PUNCH SOMEONE IN THE FACE AND THROW THIS BOOK ACROSS THE ROOM AND THEN INTO A SHREDDER BECAUSE WHEN SOMEONE DOES THAT THE SENSATION IS SO FUCKING GROSS LIKE WHEN SOMEONE TICKLES YOUR ELBOW. PLUS TICKLES IS A HORRIBLE WORD IN GENERAL. TICKLER IS ALSO A FUCKING UNFORGIVABLE WORD.)
  • Lizzie Pepper: Movie Star–Hilary Liftin*
  • The House at Pooh Corner–AA Milne* (I read this to Baby McSwedolish, but we read the whole thing so that counts, right? I’m counting it.)
  • The Hypnotist’s Love Story–Liane Moriarty*
  • Until There Was You–Kristan Higgins*
  • Dream A Little Dream–Susan Elizabeth Phillips* (I think I actually read this book last year, but I don’t see it on the list, so I’m just adding it here. See? This is what I get when I don’t record these books as I complete them.)
  • Maine–J. Courtney Sullivan* (1. Sad. Everyone in this book is just a bit of a sad sack. Good characters, but all of them, tinged with sadness that makes me sad for them that they can’t be happy. 2. None of these women strike me as particularly strong, and I found that frustrating. 3 Despite the first two points, I did enjoy the book, and it’s got great writing style.)
  • The Cinderella Deal–Jennifer Crusie*
  • The Cornish Guest House–Emma Burstall
  • Summer of Love–Katie Fforde
  • Trade Me–Courtney Milan
  • Big Little Lies–Liane Moriarty*
  • Hillbilly Elegy–JD Vance*
  • Meet Me at Beachcomber Bay–Jill Mansell*
  • In Farleigh Field–Rhys Bowen* (Slightly darker than her usual books. Is this the beginning of a new series? If I have a vote it is YES PLEASE.)
  • Cruising Attitude–Heather Poole*  
  • On Her Majesty’s Frightfully Secret Service–Rhys Bowen* (Latest in the Royal Spyness series. I know I thought these were kind of silly when I first started reading them, but now I love them and I can’t get enough of these books! I get so sad when they end because I have to wait for like, a whole year for the next one. Sigh.)
  • Some Girls: My Life in a Harem–Jillian Lauren*
  • The Fifth Letter–Nicola Moriarty* (Yes, she is the younger sister of Liane Moriarty)
  • Summer at Little Beach Street Bakery–Jenny Colgan*
  • The Travelers–Chris Pavone* (I liked this one way better then Ex Pats)
  • The Cafe By the Sea–Jenny Colgan*
  • Lucky Us–Amy Bloom*
  • The Royal Treatment–Melanie Summers

 

*Recommended