This year, I'm going to try to number the books I read so that I can keep track of how many books I read in during the year. I don't have a particular goal in mind: I just love books.
This year, as per usual, I have a very eclectic mix of books.
1. Tea Olbrecht, The Tiger's Wife. This is more literary than most of the books I read. I imagine some readers might get bored with the slow pace, but I thought it was lovely. I liked the luxurious language, and I liked the slow, intricate build of the story, which focuses mostly on a young woman, Natalia, trying to solve the mystery behind her grandfather's death. As she does so, she becomes immersed in the two stories that defined his life: the tiger's wife and the deathless man.
2. Meg Cabot, Insatiable. In dramatic contrast to the Tiger's Wife, this book was face paced but not particularly literary! Cabot forges into the world of adult paranormal romance with this story. Meena Harper works as a writer for a soap opera, and is dismayed when her program decides to incorporate a vampire line. She's sick of vampires, sick of the rival soap with a vampire, and so is understandably dismayed when she falls for an enigmatic Romanian professor and finds that he is--surprise!--also a vampire. I thought the book was fun, although not particularly deep. I liked that it didn't take itself too seriously.
3. Aimee Ferris, Will Work for Prom Dress. YA. The dialogue in this book was fast and often witty, but I had a hard time connecting to the characters and an even harder time with the plot, which was so action-packed that it didn't seem realistic. It was almost like the author wanted to make sure that readers never got bored, so almost every chapter had some new twist pop up. I thought the writing was pretty good--I would have just liked to slow down a little and enjoy the characters more.
4. Smart Move, Melanie Jacobson. This book is a companion novel to Twitterpated, but it can be read as a stand-alone novel. Sandy Burke has recently relocated to Washington DC, where she works for a nonprofit company that works to help disadvantaged women get gainful employment. She loves her job and can't understand why Jake, the lawyer representing the neighborhood where her company hopes to build an Extension, is so set against their project. When she meets Jake for the first time, sparks fly--and not just because they fight over their business interactions. Turns out, Jake is the same Jake that she met in Seattle a year earlier and shared an undeniable connection with. Now she just has to figure out what's more important: their professional conflict or their romantic compatibility. I really like Jacobson--her plots are fun, clean, and romantic. This was no exception. It started a little slow (setting up the legal ground for the story), but once Sandy and Jake started into each other, things got fun, fast.
5. Cinda Williams Chima, Dragon Heir. Brilliant conclusion to an interesting series. Chima does a great job interweaving a bunch of characters and still keeping the plot moving forward at a fast pace. As with all great endings, this left me with things to celebrate and things to mourn.
6. Shannon Hale, Austenland. (Re-read). The movie version is premiering at Sundance this month, and I really hope it gets picked up for distribution. I think this would make a fun film. Jane Hayes is obsessed with Mr. Darcy--so obsessed that it interferes with her ability to have normal love life. She confesses this to an aged aunt, and is then surprised and alarmed to find, when said aunt dies, that her aunt has left her a bequest: a three week vacation to Austenland, where guests are encouraged to dress and act in Regency approved fashion and enjoy a "proper" romance. Jane determines to use the vacation to get Mr. Darcy out of her system, and with all the attractive men around (a Mr. Bingley type, a Mr. Darcy type, the sea captain, and an attractive gardener), she's sure she'll be able to. But she finds she has a hard time distinguishing what is real and what is pretend . . . I think I actually enjoyed this more the second time. The first time I read it I found some of the writing a little unpolished and rough--this time around, the writing seemed more reflective of Jane's style and a subtle sense of humor that I missed the first go round.