Top Ten Forced Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish.

This week is the top ten books that were forced on me.  In no particular order here are my books.

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

I was forced to read this during a college history course.  I thought the book was going to be boring, but it was so good.  I was pleasantly surprised by the book and glad I was forced to read it.

Only one is from school, all the others I want to say blogs or reviewers made me do it.  I caved into the hype and man am I glad I did.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

I know it isn’t ten, but that is my list.  What books were you forced to read that you think everyone should read?


Monsters by Ilsa J Bick

ImageTitle: Monsters

Author: Isla J Bick

Publisher: Egmont USA

Published: September 10, 2013

Pages: 688

Series: yes, book 3

Source: review copy on Netgalley

The Story

The changed are all around and are trying to take over.  Those that are spared are trying to fight back.  Will everyone survive?  How will it all end?

My Thoughts

I want to say before I get into my review I liked the first book Ashes, but I loved the second book Shadows.  I came into the last book with somewhat high expectations.  The book was a disappoint to me.

The first problem was the fact that it had so many characters.  I enjoy books that flip back and forth between some characters, not a ton of them.  The thing with this book is I didn’t really remember or care about a lot of these characters.  The book does have a character chart, but it is in the back of the book.  I read this on my Kindle and I didn’t care enough to keep keying in to get to the back of the book.  That meant a lot of the time I was just reading to get a little farther in the book.  When it did get to the main characters, it seemed to have lost a bit of its focus.

The second problem was the book was all over the place.  The pacing was lost.  I felt like the fight scenes were drawn out.  The scenes describing the thoughts or feelings were jumbled or confusing.  “Go, go, push, push”, what does that mean?  It is repeated over and over, even in one of the final scenes.  It is never fully explained.  I still feel like some questions have not been answered.  The ending was rushed.  That is strange to say, especially since the book is almost 700 pages.

I feel like the book should have been edited to almost half of what was in it.  It would have been better to add in some more information about our main characters.  Overall the whole book was confusing.

I really don’t know how to feel about the series.  I have been telling people to wait to read the series until all the books are out.  I do still enjoy the first two, but there isn’t really a proper closure.  If you have read the other two books give this one a try.  If you love zombie stories, you might enjoy the series.

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Halloween Reads

This top ten Tuesday didn’t really seem like something I wanted to write about.  I am a bit burnt out on series.  Instead I am going to talk about the books I will be reading for October and those Halloween books I recommend.

The books I will be reading this October:

Monsters by Ilsa J Bick


This is the final book in the Ashes Trilogy.

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake


I purchased this book last year, but saved it until October.  Now is the time.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn


I loved the book Dark Places, but didn’t really enjoy Gone Girl.  This is the only Gillian Flynn book I haven’t read.  I am eager to see what I think of book.

Books I recommend for October:

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff


A ghost story that isn’t really that scary.  If you need a book light on the scare, check this one out.

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie


This book is a who done it.  The book is perfect for a rainy, windy October night.

It by Stephen King


This is one creepy read.  It is long though, you have been warned.  Read it and then check out the made for tv movie.  That will really creep you out.  Good luck sleeping after watching Tim Curry as Pennywise the Clown.  You have been warned, again.

The Devil in the White City by Erik Larsen


The bits about the building of the Chicago World’s Fair is interesting, but the serial killer bits are so creepy.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn


This book is very dark and haunting book.

The Z Was Zapped by Chris Van Allsburg


A little something for the kids.  All the students I have read this book to love it.  It is a tame creepy book.

Do you theme read for Halloween/October?  What did I miss?  I would love some creepy recommendations.  Plus, how many times can I say creepy?  Apparently a lot!

Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York by Sari Botton

goodbye to all thatTitle: Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York

Author: Sari Botton

Publisher: Seal Press

Published: October 8,2013

Pages: 288

Series: no

Source: review copy on Netgalley


The Story

This nonfiction book is a compilations of short essays about living and (some) leaving New York City.  Each essay talks about how the writer came to live in New York.  They describe their experiences and the final decision on whether or not to stay in New York City.


My Thoughts

I have a great fascination with New York City.  I think a lot of people do.  One of the fascinations is about what it would be like to live there.  I have never lived there and probably never will (due to the high cost of living), but still want to know what it would be like.  This book helps provide a good insight into that.  I enjoyed the fact that some of the people had a great experience, some not so great, and some just down right rocky.  Most of the authors I hadn’t heard of.  However, all were compelling to read.  I found I wanted to read one more essay each night.

I didn’t end up loving all of the essays, but I think that is standard with a compilation book.  Some were graphic and I just couldn’t relate, but most were enjoyable.

If you have a fascination with New York City or have lived there before, definitely check this one out.


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Review:Boat Girl by Melanie Neale

boat girlTitle: Boat Girl

Author: Melanie Neale

Publisher: Beating Windward Press

Published: October 1st 2012

Pages: 246

Series: no

Source: review copy on Netgalley

The Story

This nonfiction book is the story of Melanie’s childhood, teenage years, and early adult years living aboard a boat.  Melanie’s family lived aboard a book traveling back and forth from the US east coast to the Bahamas.  The story describes the ups and downs of living on a boat.

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed the descriptions that the author described about her life aboard the boat.  I also enjoyed the fact that she described the ups and downs that the family faced.  I thought the book really picked up pace when she was a beginning teenager into a young adult.  This makes sense since it is from her memory of the events.  The relationships (friendship and romantic) were very interesting.  The stories about living aboard in Florida and during a hurricane were especially fascinating.

I found the book to be slow in some parts, even though it is only 246 pages.  I had a hard time getting into the book.

When I first read the synopsis I thought it sounded interesting.  While I did find the book interesting, I figured out I am just not that into living aboard a boat.   The book was ok.

I would give this bookbookmark bookmark bookmark

Review: Before I Met You by Lisa Jewell

before I met you

Title: Before I Met You

Author: Lisa Jewell

Publisher: Atria Books

Published: October 15, 2013 (orginally published on July 19, 2012 by Century)

Series: no

Source: review copy on Netgalley

The Story

Betty has spent her first years as an adult taking care of her grandmother Arlette.  When Arlette dies she leave an amount in her will to someone that no one has heard of.  Arlette decides to move to London to find the beneficiary, Clara Pickle.  The story flips back and forth between Betty in the 1990’s and Arlette in the 1920’s.  The mystery of Clara Pickle is slowing unfolded as Betty finds clues.

My Thoughts

I tend to really like books that have the back and forth set up.  This book had that.  It also had the fact of two decades I really like, the 20’s and the 90’s.  On top of that the story is set in one of my favorite cities, London.  All of those things made me really excited to read this book.

The voices of Betty and Arlette are very distinctive.  I felt like they were believable for the time period each character was set in.  I loved the spunk of Arlette and the uncertainty of Betty.  The story would hint at something happening through discoveries from Betty.  It would then flip back to Arlette.

The book was really well written.  I wanted to keep reading and find out the mystery, but that wasn’t all.  I also wanted to find out what was going to happen in each of their lives.  I would highly recommend picking this one up.  I am going to see if I can get my hands on some more books by Lisa Jewell.

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Top Ten Book Turn-offs

This week the topic for Top Ten Tuesday is Book Turn-offs.  Those things that make us want to stop reading or maybe even roll our eyes.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, go over and check them out.

My list is in no particular order.
tuesday sept 30th Big Fat BooksI don’t have anything against big books and have enjoyed my fair share of BIG books.  However, when I am looking at what to read next a book that is big can be intimidating.  Does it need to be that long?  Plus, I worry once I start reading it will take so long to finish.

tuesday sept 30th Big Fat Plot HolesThe book is going along and then all of sudden something happens that doesn’t work with the story.  Or point A to point B is rushed or not explained. The type of stories that aren’t totally thought out.

tuesday sept 30th PoliticalI am ok with books about politics.  I don’t like books trying to cram a viewpoint down my throat.  Give me the facts and I will make up my own mind, thank you very much.

tuesday sept 30th Dumb decisionsI get the fact that some books are coming of age stories and dumb decisions may have to be made.  I don’t like it when dumb decisions are done over and over.  Then the character learns nothing from the dumb decisions.

tuesday sept 30th Unlikable CharactersI have read a few books that I like the story, but don’t really like or connect to the characters.     I have to be able to find some good quality to the character or it just doesn’t work.

tuesday sept 30th Extreme PredicadabilityMost of the time I read to escape.  I don’t try to predict everything that is going to happen next.  The book is not going to work for me if I can guess what is going happen.  It makes the whole reading experience boring.

tuesday sept 30th Soooo slowI get some books need world building and character development, but does it have to be so many pages long.  I don’t want slow books.  It doesn’t have to massively action packed, but it has to at least go somewhere.  Please don’t bore me, it is so hard to come back from that.

tuesday sept 30th PiggybackingThose books that are touted as the next insert popular book here.  I also don’t like books that are based around really popular shows or stories.  They normally aren’t that great.  If you are going to piggyback, it better be good.

tuesday sept 30th unstable characterOne book I read earlier this year (I won’t name names) had a bunch of idiotic characters and they all acted like they were so stable.  I really felt like a bunch of the characters needed to see a psychiatrist.  The only character that was stable was supposed to be the stick in the mud, unlikable character.

tuesday spet 30th MIA Parents

If the book is supposed to be a young adult book then they should have parents.  Unless your book is based around an absent parent or neglectful parents they can’t just disappear.  I also don’t like when kids just forget about their parents.

What are your book turn offs?