Sunday, December 21, 2014

On My Nightstand - Dec

I'm trying, guyz, I'm trying!  A few all-nighters and I might make it!  This has pretty much been the most fun challenge everrrr.  If I make it to the finish line I am so totally rewarding myself with... a new book?

'One More Thing - Stories and Other Stories' - BJ Novak

This selection of short stories was surprising and delightful!  I actually thought I was getting the trad. comedian-memoirs-this-is-how-I-made-it (>> Tina Fey, Mindy Kaling, Miranda Hart etc) but nope.  Just clever, funny, often poignant stories and snippets.  I'm not usually a huge reader of short stories and I'm not sure that I would have picked it up had I known, but happy happy accident that lead to this!

Some of the stories have really stuck with me (only the occasional slightly boring/disappointing one) and I have this on my must-own-must-reread list. I was able to read a bunch of books around it, and it perfectly filled the gaps when selecting a new title.   A 2014 favourite.

'Don't Look Back' - Jennifer L. Armentrout

I went in cold with this one, with no recommendations other than a Goodreads Best YA Fiction of 2014 nomination.  I enjoyed but definitely won't remember this book...

Pluses - Excellent pacing and refreshingly smooth writing.  One of those writers you pick up and immediately know that you are in safe hands.  There was a satisfying level of intrigue the entire way through, making for a fun 'whodunnit' read.

Minuses - There was no element of surprise when the climax arrived.  I actually had a pretty great theory going, and felt deeply disappointed that Armentrout made such an obvious choice.  I thought there would for sure be a bunch of punch-in-the-gut plot twists saving themselves for the end, but other than the protag figuring out what had been pre.tty obvious all along... just nothing.  Disappointingly, I couldn't really get on board with any of the characters, I didn't hate them, but I didn't love 'em.  I thought there were missed opportunities for toxic characters to redeem themselves, and I had conflicted feelings towards the 'good guys'.

Also, sexual content warning.  This one's for older YA readers for sure.


YA novels
Forest Born - Shannon Hale
Cinder - Marissa Meyer (read)
Scarlet - Marissa Meyer (read)
Cress - Marissa Meyer (reading)
If I Stay - Gayle Forman (read)
The Fault In Our Stars - John Green (read)
The Jewel - Amy Ewing (read)
The Selection - Kiera Cass (read)
The Elite - Kiera Cass (read)
The One - Kiera Cass (read)
The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman (read)
Boy 21 - Matthew Quick (read)
Love Letters To The Dead - Ava Dellaira (read)
We Were Liars - E. Lockhart (read)
Eleanor & Park - Rainbow Rowell
Okay For Now - Gary D. Schmidt (read)
Don't Look Back - Jennifer L. Armentrout (read)

Contemporary/Adult lit
The Interestings - Meg Wolitzer (DNF)
Rules of Civility - Amor Towles
Gone Girl - Gillian Flynn (read)
One More Thing - BJ Novak (read)
The Goldfinch - Donna Tartt

NZ fiction
(Middle Grade) The Volume of Possible Endings - Barbara Else (read)
Spark - Rachael Craw (read)

Is It Just Me? - Miranda Hart (read)
I Am Malala - Malala Yousafzai

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Twenty Fourteen

I feel super nostalgic looking back over this year of photos.  Babies grow so quick!  I can barely catch the resemblance between Garland last summer, and the one sitting next to me as I type.  

For sure this has been a challenging year.  For the first time, I've experienced the pull between parenting and work-from-not-home-life.  The stretch has tested my reserves, but we made it to the end!  And everyone is still in one piece, so I think we can claim our success.

One thing that has felt pretty good is working towards just a few, very specific goals.  I can't say I've fully achieved every one, but in each of those areas there has been definite, marked progress, and that's more than I can say for most years.  Boom!

Here's to a new year of growth and change (and a few days left to you know, get ready for all that...).