Book Chat

Reading Log: February 2013

I guess 2013 is officially underway – it’s hard to believe the second month has already passed by.  If I start complaining about how fast time flies, does that officially mean I’m getting old?  Too bad, because it’s true.  This month was all about getting through the slog of life – work, sleep, eat, repeat – punctuated with fun moments to keep life from getting tedious.  I read pretty steadily, which is a nice background for all of life’s mundane activities.

So here’s my Reading Log for February 2013, with my thoughts about each book to help me remember what I read.  I’ve included all the books that I’ve read or finished during the month (even if I started some of them outside of the month).  Plus I like to rate the books I read on the grading system and keep track of the binding… just for fun!

February 2013

HB = Hardback, PB = Paperback, AB = Audio book, K = Kindle.

Title Start Finish Grade/
Format
Beautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles #2),
by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
1/28/13 2/6/13

A
K

Secret Lives of Great Authors,
by Robert Schnakenberg
2/2/13 2/27/13

A
PB

Dream Dark: A Beautiful Creatures Story (Caster Chronicles #2.5),
by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
2/6/13 2/7/13

B+
K

Beautiful Chaos,
by Kam Garcia and Margaret Stohl
2/7/13 2/26/13

A-
K

The Artist in the Office: How to Creatively Survive and Thrive Seven Days a Week,
by Summer Pierre
2/8/13 2/10/13

A+
PB

Dark Places,
by Gillian Flynn
2/11/13 2/14/13

A
K

The Silver Linings Playbook,
by Matthew Quick
2/26/13 Still Reading

TBD
K

Thoughts:

Beautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles #2), by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl – A

January 2013 Reading Log // The Amateur Librarian

Second of four books in the series.  I think I liked this one even more than the first.  It’s a fun world to be in—Casters and Mortals and Voodoo and Southern Charm and Tunnels—with teenage angst tying it all together.  I liked that the action from the first book was better explained, and integral to the plot of this book.  And fortunately, this book escaped the dreaded 2nd-book-snooze syndrome that most sequels experience (The Hunger Games and Matched come to mind).  Maybe because it’s a four-book series instead of a trilogy (although to be fair, the 2nd book in the Gemma Doyle trilogy was awesome but the final book was an epic disappointment.  So as usual, there are exceptions to the rule).  The characters are still a little young – and Lena’s angst in particular can be quite annoying.  I don’t know why it’s so hard for her to choose between Light and Dark, when choosing Light will solve all her problems and choosing Dark has almost all negative consequences.  But if you look past some of the inconsistencies, it was still a great adventure and romance.  It’s fun to be in the middle of a series and anticipating the movies – I guess I will always try to relive that Harry Potter magic.

 …

Secret Lives of Great Authors, by Robert Schnakenberg – A

The Amateur Librarian // February 2013 Reading Log

Short biographies and fun facts for 30+ famous writers.  Great fun to peruse and quote aloud the most scandalous bits to Sam.  Too bad I have a terrible memory for trivia, and it all starts to melt together after a while… I tried to read in short spurts so I could absorb the information, but I’m not sure if that actually worked, ha!  The bios aren’t supposed to be comprehensive, and I know the chosen information is mostly for shock value, but it did bother me a bit that so much was left out.  One wife/husband/mistress/lover would be mentioned, and then another, and I would be left wondering what happened to end the one and start the other… but I guess it wasn’t outrageous enough to include.  I would have appreciated a timeline or something just to have the whole picture of each writer’s life, even if there wasn’t enough space to expound on it all.  But! This was still highly enjoyable to read, and I learned lots of interesting tidbits about a few of my favorite authors and a lot of writers that I know about but have never actually read about.  Good stuff!

Dream Dark: A Beautiful Creatures Story (Caster Chronicles #2.5), by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl – B+

The Amateur Librarian // February 2013 Reading Log

Short story that takes place between the 2nd and 3rd books of the Caster Chronicles.  Not exactly necessary to the plot of the series, but a fun read.  I’m sure it was nice to whet the appetite if you were waiting a long time for the next book to be published, but since I’m reading the completed series it’s not quite the same.  The only problem I had with it was that it was narrated by Ethan, even though it was all about Link and didn’t really involve Ethan at all.  If the story is just a side note, then I wish the authors could have stepped out of their usual structure and let Link narrate just for fun.  As the comedic relief, he’s definitely one of my favorite characters – and I would’ve enjoyed stepping inside his head.

 …

Beautiful Chaos (Caster Chronicles #3), by Kam Garcia and Margaret Stohl – A-

The Amateur Librarian // February 2013 Reading Log

Third book in the series, one to go.  I’m still enjoying the books, but I have to admit that my feelings for this one were colored after watching the movie right in the middle of reading.   For a couple hundred pages, I found myself rolling my eyes at the characters and envisioning all the ways the next movie might make it seem stupid.  By the end of the book I could enjoy the story again, but it really took me a while to shake off the movie.  The characters continued to develop, Lena was much less annoying and angsty, the side characters were fun, and I enjoyed Ethan’s evolving appreciation for his small hometown that he hated when the series began.   All the characters grew up a little.  But the ending – well, it was a cliffhanger in the most obnoxious way.  The main character literally leapt off a water tower – and that’s how it ended.  We have no idea if he lives or dies or fulfills the prophecy or WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT.  I guess I’ll have to read the final book, but I’m a little annoyed – both by the ending and the lingering aftertaste of the movie.  So I may have to take a break.

As for the movie… I tried to have low expectations.  I reminded myself over and over: it’s geared toward teens, it might be cheesy, I’d heard ahead of time that two major characters were being combined into one… but still, I was prepared to love it anyway.  Halfway through the movie, I was rolling my eyes… and by the end, I was dismayed.  I totally get that movie adaptations have to change certain things for the sake of the story… but I never expected so many huge changes that completely altered the basic plot.  And the kicker is that whether you’ve read the books or went into the theater without ever having heard of them – the storyline makes no sense because of all the changes.  There are so many holes, and I have no idea if the second, third, or fourth movies will even be made, because the movie doesn’t follow the first book at all.  So, disappointment is an understatement.   I’m not even that picky about movie adaptations, but this one… it was a doozy.  Needless to say, I don’t recommend it, whether or not you’re a fan of the books.

 …

The Artist in the Office: How to Creatively Survive and Thrive Seven Days a Week, by Summer Pierre – A+

The Amateur Librarian // February 2013 Reading Log

How to live a creative life – as an artist, writer, actress, etc. – while working a 9-to-5 job.  I don’t really think of myself as an “artist,” but this book applies to any kind of creative aspirations.  I think I really needed this little boost to remind me that it’s possible to balance both a day job and a creative life.  Because the truth is, I like lots of things about my office job – the regular hours, stability, lunch hour, co-workers, paid holidays, benefits, the (relatively) easy commute… not to mention the paycheck that helps to provide our (mostly) comfortable lifestyle.  So yes, I daydream about being creative 24/7 – cultivating my various hobbies and crafts full-time, without the hindrance of working.  But as this slim book reminded me, it’s possible to have it all.  Not just to survive, but to thrive while juggling both lives.  I loved the inspirational quotes, tips, realistic suggestions, and I will definitely keep this close by to flip through when I need a burst of inspiration or a little reminder that creativity doesn’t have to wait until the end of the work week.  Highly recommend – Fun and motivating!

 …

Dark Places, by Gillian Flynn – A

The Amateur Librarian // February 2013 Reading Log

Book group pick for February.  The survivor of a childhood tragedy finally figures out the true story of what happened the night her brother was blamed for the gruesome murders of her mother and sisters.  I almost never read books like this – gritty thrillers with unlikable characters – but Gillian Flynn is something different.  I really like her writing style, and even while I’m grimacing and flinching in horror, I can’t stop reading.  And when I’m not reading, I can’t stop thinking about it.  Maybe that’s why so many people watch scary movies – that can’t-look-away fascination even in the middle of gasping.  I can’t stand the visual gore but I can definitely get sucked into the written version, if it’s written well enough.  I think I liked the unreliable narrator of Gone Girl a bit more, but this one had just as much mystery with plenty of twists and unexpected turns.

The Silver Linings Playbook, by Matthew Quick – TBD

The Amateur Librarian // February 2013 Reading Log

I absolutely loved the movie version, and I can totally admit that it’s the reason I picked up the book.  So no shame when it comes to the movie tie-in version of the cover.  Just got started a couple days ago, and it’s a quick read so far.  Loving it!

So that’s what I’ve been reading during the month of February.  Anyone else reading a good book?

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One thought on “Reading Log: February 2013

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