50 Books in 2012

For 2012 I have set up a goal to read 50 books. You can follow along on this page with some reviews. I have also developed a very complex rating scale of 1-5 Oi's!, you must raise your fist with each Oi! (we are punk rock parents after all). If you have any recommendations please leave me a comment!

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by Robin O'Bryant
Began 11-19-12
Downloaded to Kindle
Finished  12-17-12
Rating: Oi Oi Oi 

I probably should have spaced O'Bryant's books apart. The stories were cute and funny but felt like I was reading the same book twice. It took me awhile to get through the book. If I had to pick between the two I would say that "Ketchup is a Vegatable" was a better book. They are both funny books about the chaos that is parenthood. 






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And Other Lies Mom Tell Themselves
by Robin O'Bryant
Began 11-17-12
Downloaded to Kindle
Finished 11-20-12
Rating: Oi Oi Oi Oi 

A really cute and fun read. This blogger turned author tells it like it is when it comes to raising kids. I related to her so much because she is raising girls. Fun stories about disastrous trips to the mall, major meltdowns and the gross things kids can do. Think poop. A lot of funny stories about the parts of motherhood that no one ever talks about. 



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by Matthew Quick
Began 11-9-12
Downloaded to Kindle
Finished 11-12-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi Oi

Okay I will admit I wanted to read this because Bradley Cooper is super hot and the movie looks good! The book was really good too! The story of a man who had some kind of breakdown. As he gets out of some kind of institution he is forced to live with his parents and try to figure about just how much time has passed, what happened and what was to become of his life.  He is introduced to a girl who can relate to what he is going through but a little on the crazy side. This books shows how a family and a person struggles to overcome. The book was great and I am looking forward to the movie! 






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by Will Schwalbe
Began 10-30-12
Borrowed From Jan
Finished 11-9-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi

This memoir is about the 2 years where the authors Mother was dying of cancer. While taking his Mother to doctors and chemo appointments a book club of 2. They share and swap and discuss books and as they discuss different great novels Will get to know his Mother a little better. He understands what her life meant to her and how she felt about dying. This was a good book but sort of lagged to me. It took me awhile to get through but I am glad I did. 







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Finding Beauty in the Unexpected- A memoir 
by Kelle Hampton
Began 10-18-12
Borrowed from the library
Finished 10-20-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi Oi O (4.5)

I simply adored this book. The moment after her second daughter was born. When they placed the baby in her arms, Kelle Hampton knew it. Before anyone even said it. Her daughter had down syndrome. I warn you now this book will make you cry sad and happy tears. Kelle takes her reader on a journey through her first year as Nella's Mom. She is brutally honest about her feelings and actions. We go through the heart break and the amazing joy and strength with her. This is a beautiful memoir of a mother who's child is not what she expects and instead turns out to be so much more. 
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by Sandra Cisneros
Began 10-16-12
Downloaded to Kindle
Finished 10-17-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi Oi O (4.5)

I was so excited to read this book. Sandra Cisneros with illustrations by Ester Hernandez! The Chicano Studies major in me was just giddy with happiness. One of my favorite authors with one of my favorite artists! This is a really short and at first glance simple story. A cat is missing and 2 women comb the neighborhood looking for Marie the cat. The story is deeper and much more emotional than that. The story is about loss and grief and coping with losing  a love in your life. The story is powerful and I found myself tearing up a few times. The illustrations are just as equally important to the story. They are vibrant and beautiful and filled with emotion. I really wish I would have picked up the actual book instead of reading it on my kindle. Some books are meant to be read in book form, this is one of them. After I read the story I went back and looked through each photo again and felt like I had read the whole story again. 


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by Sophie Morgan
Began 10-8-12
Book given to me by the publisher
Finished 10-16-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi (3)

This is a paid book review for BlogHer book club. You can find my review over on the main blog page! 









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by F.G. Haghenbeck
Began 9-27-12
Downloaded to Kindle
Finished: 9-29-12
Rating: Oi Oi Oi Oi O (4.5)

This book was almost perfect. Almost. It was so good. So good. The story of Frida Kahlo's life mixed with the authors own imagination. I loved it so much. It was beautifully written and so vivid. Every time I read about her life I get so emotionally invested. And every time she dies at the end I cry. Every time. Not what made this book not a 5 was the recipes. I understand these were suppose to have come from her notebook but I still didn't feel that they really added to the story. I found myself skimming through them. This book is a MUST read for any Frida fan. It made me want to get on a plane and go back to La Casa Azul just to feel her presence again.  

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by Ally Condie
Began 9-18-12
Given to me by publisher
Finished 9-27-12
Rating: Oi Oi Oi

This is another paid book review and will be posted on the main blog page soon! 











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How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead
by Brene Brown
Began 9-2-12
Given to me by the publisher
Finished 9-18-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi Oi O (4.5)

I cannot say enough about this book. A fantastic read. I have re-read the chapter on parenting over and over. I have downloaded her manifesto and it's going on my kids bedroom wall. This is a paid review and you can find it HERE



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by Stephen Chbosky
Began 9-7-12
Borrowed from library
Finished 9-11-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi Oi O (4.5)

When did young adult books get so good. I have had this book on my to-read list for months. Since the movie is about to be released I figured I better read it now, before seeing the movie. Because 99.9% of the time the book is better. The format of the book is interesting. The whole story is told through letters that the main character Charlie writes to an unknown person. The letters take us through Charlie's first year of high school and how he finds himself when he meets Patrick and Sam. They are that group in high school that kind of just blends into the background. Not popular, not nerds, not outcasts really, just not seen. Another part I loved was that it takes place the same time that I was in high school. And the music referred to in the book is fantastic. I mean The Smiths! Come on. 

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by Colum McCann
Began 8-20-12
Borrowed from the library and recommended by Jessica
Finished 9-2-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi Oi O (4.5)

When my BFF from kindergarten recommends a book I immediately head over and pick it up. I mean who knows me better than my BFF since 1981. This book really struck her. And besides the unauthorized NKOTB biography, this has been the only book I can remember her recommending. It did not disappoint. This was the kind of book I was hoping all 50 books I read this year were like. The stories revolve around an incident that really happened in New York in the 1970's. A man tight rope walked across a wire in between the twin towers. Then different New Yorkers lives are intertwined by this event. A beautifully written book that really digs deep into the lives of the characters. Not matter how flawed they seem to be. One of the best books I have ever read is The Madonnas of Echo Park by Brando Skyhorse. This book is very similar in the way it takes different stories that seem to not have anything to do with each other, and connect them to one event. The world is small and we are all connected.

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by Justin Torres
Began 8-18-12
Downloaded to Kindle
Finished 8-19-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi Oi O (4.5)

Powerful and haunting. The story of 3 brothers struggling to grow up. Children of teenage parents you see the need for love and attention these boys need. I have seen these kinds of kids. Those troublemaker boys who you assume will grow up to be criminals. This book dips into the souls of these poor tormented children. Disturbing and beautiful all at the same time. This is a very quick read but is a story that will not leave your mind. You will find yourself thinking about these 3 little boys for days and days after you put this book down. 










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#42 A Shore Thing
by Snookie
Began 8-11-12
Borrowed from MY MOM!
Finished 8-17-12
Rating: Oi Oi Oi O (3.5)

So Snooki wrote a book. And it is everything you expected a book written by Snooki is. My Mom said it was like reading an episode of Jersey Shore and that is a great way to sum it up. The story is about Gia and Bella, cousins from Brooklyn who spend the summer at Jersey shore. It is obvious that Gia is Snooki and Bella is JWow. The girls are there to look for Gorilla Juiceheads and fall  in love. This is a very quick read and if you are a Jersey Shore fan this is a fun read.


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by David R. Gillham
Began 7-18-12
Advanced copy given to me by my friend Jan
Finished 8-4-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi O (3.5)

This story is set during World War 2, where the city of Berlin has become a city of women thanks to the war. It is an interesting idea, WWII from the perspective of a sympathetic German woman. The story revolves around Sigrid Schröder, the wife of a solider who lives and works in Berlin. We see the despair that these women were left to live in. Sigrid, like many women during this time, is having an affair, with a married man, a Jewish married man. After friending a young woman who works in her building she finds herself working with a underground circle of people who are housing and helping Jewish escape. Before her association with these people Sigrid was rather unaware of what the German army was doing to Jewish people. Like most of the women, they were lead to believe that the Jewish people being herded were simply going to work camps, not death camps. Although the storyline was good I felt that it really dragged on. It took me a very long time to get through this book and at the end it felt like a very very drawn out short story. 

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by Dan Bucatinsky
Began 7-18-12
Downloaded to Kindle
Finished 7-23-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi Oi (4)

A super cute memoir about one gay Dad's struggle first to adopt his children and then they hilarious adventures he finds himself with his daughter and son. I was surprised to find myself relating so much. Dan goes through so much heartache trying to successfully adopt a baby. It reminded me of the heartache I went through trying to get pregnant with my second. This book is not preachy. Just an open and honest and real look at a Father learning to raise his kids. And all the sticky, ugly, messy stuff it comes with.  
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by Margaret Dilloway
Began 7-4-12
Given to my by the publisher
Finished 7-12-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi Oi (4)

This is a paid review by Blogher and is up on my main blog CLICK HERE 
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by Susan Schmidt
Began 6-23-12
Downloaded to Kindle
Finished 7-3-12
Rating Oi Oi O (2.5)

I love the show Sister Wives. They whole idea of polygamy
is really intriguing. I thought this book would be a good story about the reality of polygamy. And it was that but it really really drag. I found myself saying "why wont this book end?!" The story follows Susan as she marries at the age of 15. She becomes a plural wife and lives in some pretty horrific conditions. She eventually finds herself at 25 with 5 kids questioning everything she was raised in. Even her escape was pretty dull in the end. 
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by Diana Chamberlain
Began 06-19-2012
Downloaded to Kindle (Recommended by Cari!)
Finished
Rating Oi Oi Oi Oi (4)

One of those $1.99 Kindle downloads that happen to be a great read. When a famous actress goes through a public divorce she heads back to her hometown. Her plans is to research and write a movie about her mother. A very strange but famous children's author who died when Eden was young. As part of her research her Uncle gives her, her Mothers journals. As the truth about her Mother unfolds Eden finds herself developing a relationship with the man who work with her Uncle. As his secrets are revealed Eden has to make a decision. Does she continue with the movie and tell all her mother's secrets. And does she follow her heart and gut and stay with the man who for the first time in a long time made her feel loved.

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by Alice Eve Cohen
Began  06-15-12
Borrowed from the Library
Finished 06-18-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi O (3.5)

I found myself at the library alone a few weeks ago. This never happens. It was like a vacation. I love books. As I wandered the book shelves I ended up in the biography section and this book caught my eye. Later I would find out it was because I had read it already. Oh well, the story was pretty interesting. Alice is in her mid-40's, divorced with an adopted daughter. She was told that she would never have kids. She begins having strange symptoms and her doctors diagnose her with early menopause, weak bladder, cysts in her breasts from years of wearing underwire bras. When she is concerned about a hard lump in her stomach she has a CAT scan done only to find that she is 6 months pregnant. An ultra-sound finds the first of many problems with this pregnancy and Alice is torn between keeping this baby. She struggles to love her baby. A very deep and heartbreaking book about a Mom going through so much turmoil and trying to decide how to fight for and advocate for her new baby. 

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by Julia Alvarez
Began 06-04-12
Borrowed from Library
Finished 06-14-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi Oi (4)

Julia Alvarez has always been one of my favorite authors. I mean she wrote "How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accent". She has this simple and beautiful way of telling immigrant stories that really touch me. This book is a bit different but just as beautiful and powerful. The book revolves around 2 different trips that Julia and her husband take to Haiti. One before the earthquake and one after the quake. Like all trips there are many bumps in the road including flash floods, car sickness, and mobs. This book took me a bit longer to get through than most but it really opened my eyes to the reality of Haiti and its relations with it.s neighbor Dominican Republic. I wish there was more on the aftermath of the quake and how the people were rebuilding after so much devastation. 

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Life and Loss One Song at a Time
by Rob Sheffield
Began 06-01-12
Downloaded to Kindle
Finished 06-04-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi Oi O (4.5)

I was told by my friend Jan that I would love this book and she was so right. Back in the day, mix tapes to me were no joke. There was a fine art to making the ultimate mix tape. My BFF Sam and I would take an entire day to create the ultimate mix. This book tells the story of Rob, how he met Renee and how he got through Renee's death. The story is so heart-wrenching and so beautiful. Each chapter opens with a mix tape list and throughout the story the author tells the story of falling in love and losing his wife with music. 

A few of my part quotes from the book. 

"I realize that I will never fully understand the millions of bizarre ways that music brings people together.

She’s somebody he will never let go of, somebody whose cancer he’d eat to keep her alive, somebody he’ll never leave no matter how toxic she gets.

“Adore” might be the most beautiful make-out ballad ever—six minutes of erotic bliss that’s more delfonic than The Stylistics and more stylistic than TheDelfonics.

In some circles, admitting you love Top 40 radio is tantamount to bragging you gave your grandmother the clap,

Music has always been a huge part of my life and it is so true how one song can bring you right back to your past. Good or bad. I highly recommend this book to any music lover out there. 
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#33 Dancing Home
By Alma Flor Ada
Began 5-25-12
Borrowed from the library
Finished 5-28-12
Rating: Oi Oi Oi O (3.5)

I found this book on the shelf of the young adult section at my library. As you can tell I have been on a Chicana/o Lit kick lately and this cover caught my eye. Isn't it so cute! Since this is a YA book it was a quick read and a very simple story. Margarita is a girl who was born in Texas to Mexican parents. She is doing whatever she can to distance herself from anything Mexican. She won't speak Spanish and goes by Margie. Then her cousin Lucy is sent from Mexico to California to live with Margie and her Mom and Dad. Now Margie has to struggle with her jealousy of her cousin and her embarrassment of her because she can't speak English. After spending more time with her cousin and a ballet flokorico class, and a personal journal assignment Margrie learns to appreciate not only her American side but her Mexican side too.
 
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Francisco Jimenez
Began 5-21-12
Downloaded to Kindle
Finished 5-24-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi O (3.5)

This is the third book in the series and follows Panchito as he goes through his his years at Santa Clara University. The book opens with Panchito and his family driving him to school. When the family gets there in their beat up car his parents are too embarrassed to even get out of the car. This is where 2 worlds collide for Panchito.After a rough start he begins to excel in school. But when his Father leaves the family and goes back to Mexico he has to decide to either stay and finish school or leave and fulfill his family obligations and go home and work to help. With encouragement from his professors he figures out that by staying and getting his degree he will help his family much more in the long run. While in school in Central California he begins to support Chavez and the United Farm Workers movement. We see the beginning of the fight for rights for farm workers. At the end of the book he earns his degree and decides to become a professor and go on to graduate school. Rumor has it that Francisco Jimenez is working on a fourth novel that will tell the story of his experience at graduate school.   


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Francisco Jimenez
Began 5-16-12
Borrowed from my Dad
Finished 5-20-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi Oi (4)

This book picks up where The Circuit left off. We follow Panchito as he continues his struggle as a migrant student. His family finds some stability when he and his older brother land jobs with a cleaning company. This allows the family to stay in one place instead of moving around to follow the crops. As a high school student Panchito has some amazing teachers who encourage him to study hard, work hard and most important of all, apply to college. Despite the odds against him Panchito is successful in school, even becomes student body president, while working as much as he can in order to provide for his family. When he is accepted to Santa Clara University he is torn between staying in Santa Maria with his family or going it alone at the university. Again this book is one of those stories that needs to be told and it is told in a very real, straight forward way.

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Francisco Jimenez
Began 5-14-12
Downloaded to Kindle
Finished 5-15-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi Oi (4)

I found another book by this author on my parents book shelf and took it to read. My Comadre let me know that the book was #2 in a series so I did some research and found out that this was book #1. A super easy, quick and heart wrenching read. This is a semi-autobiographically look at the authors childhood as a migrant farm workers. After crossing the border, Panchito who is maybe 4, and his family travel all year long across California following the crops. The cycle of cotton and strawberries is what determines where Panchito lives and for how long. This realistic view of a young child working a job that most grown men would never tolerate, and living in conditions considered inhumane was hard for me to read. Watching this little boy's heart break with each move and with the friends he has to leave behind are hard. To see him hide from the school bus because during Sept-Nov he has to work to support the family is devastating. As I read this all I could think about was how my Grandmother grew up. This story is the story of many Chicano family history. The idea of living like this is now a foreign concept to my generation. The thought of picking fruit for 12 hours a day in the hot sun, instead of going to school is not one I ever had growing up. But my grandparents did. I do not have to worry about if I will find work at the next farm or the next season. My cushy air conditioned office job never felt so good. There is not enough thanks in the world that I could give to my grandparents who lived the life of a migrant worker so that I could sit at a desk and make more money in a day then they could every have imagined. 
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#29 The First Husband
by Laura Dave
Began 4-30-12
Book given to me by publisher
Finished 5-8-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi O (3.5)








Another Blogher Book Club read. Find my review on the main page of Punk Rock Parents later this month.



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by E.L. James
Began 5-5-12
Downloaded to Kindle
Finished 5-6-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi Oi O (4.5)

I am so sad that this series is over. Although not winning awards for it's writing this series was awesome. It was sexy and kinky and exciting and suspenseful and so much fun to read. In the last book Christian and Anatasia and now newlyweds and as they figure out how to live as a married couple they are the target of a crazy man. This book was the most suspenseful and anxiety inducing of the trilogy. I read this book along with a friend of mine and when she finished the book she said she could finally breathe. It is that suspenseful. I am going to miss these characters and am looking forward to the movies when they come out!



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#27 Fifty Shades Darker 
by E.L. James
Began 4-19-12
Downloaded to Kindle
Finished 4-21-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi Oi O (4.5)

I read the last few chapters of this book in bed. While I was reading Joey turns to me and says "Is the book that good?" Apparently I had been absentmindly stroking the blanket back and forth while reading. Yes the book is that good. The story is just as suspenseful as the first book.  The relationship between Anastasia and Christian cannot be contained. Despite having walked out on Christian, Anastasia finds herself right back in Christian's arm and in his crazy sex room. I found this book to be just as suspenseful and just as sexy as the first book. I did have to give myself a bit of a break before I read the last of the books. Partly because I don't want the series to end.

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#26 Fifty Shades of Grey
by E.L. James
Began 4-16-12
Downloaded to Kindle
Finished 4-18-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi Oi O (4.5)

Whoa! What a book. I could not put my Kindle down. So I heard a lot of talk about this book. About it being a kinky sex book. And this did not disappoint. It took about 5 chapters to get into the steamy parts but when it did . Oh wow. I think this is the first time I have read a book that made me squirmy. Yes squirmy. This story is not just about kinky S&M sex but about relationships, power struggles, and how your past and upbringing can shape you in the person you are. Chrisitan Grey is ultra wealthy, young and greek god like handsome. Anastasia Steele is a young college graduate. From their first meeting the attraction between the 2 is undeniable. But when Christian gives Ana a 3 month Submissive/Dominant contract to sign so they could begin their realtionship, Ana has to figure out if this is a world she wants to enter. This book is a quick read and super hot and steamy. This is the first book of a trilogy and I cannot wait to read the next book!


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We Are Bon Jovi!
(half way there)

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#25 You Have No Idea
A Famous Daughter, Her No-nonsense Mother, and How They Survived Pageants, Hollywood, Love, Loss, (and each other)
by Vanessa Williams and Helen Williams
Began 4-12-12
Book sent to me by the publisher
Finished 4-16-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi O

This is a paid review by Blogher Book Club. You can find my review and much more by clicking HERE












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#24 Dear Old Love
Notes to Former Crushes, Sweethearts, Husbands, Wives and Ones That Got Away
by Andy Selsberg
Began 4-9-12
Downloaded to Kindle
Finished 4-10-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi Oi

This is the first time that I read a book on my Kindle and wished I had read the actual book. This book is made up of little short notes that people have submitted to an old love. They range from sweet, to sad, to angry, to bizarre. This is a very cute book and such a great concept. You can submit your letter, anonymously to an old love to the website still. And who doesn't have one more thing they wish they could say. This book is a very quick read. Like in 1 hour. But well worth it. There were a few that I wanted to send out to certain old loves. I recommend this book to anyone who has ever had and lost a love in their life.
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#23 I Love Everyone (And Other Atrocious Lies) 
True Tales of a Loud Mouth Girl
By Laurie Notaro
Began 4-1-12
Downloaded from Kindle
Finished 4-9-12
Rating Oi Oi (2)

I really wanted to like this book. I have read something from this other before and remember liking is but this book was just , ugh. It just felt like a girl complaining for the sake of complaining and I get enough of that in real life from a certain husband of mine. She came across like such a pessimistic and just over all sour puss that it made the book really really hard to get through. She tried way to hard to find the humorous angle to things that is was just too far fetched sometimes. I really hope that this is just one bad book in her bibliography.



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#22 Home Front
by Kristin Hannah
Began 3-24-12
Borrowed from library
Finished 3-31-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi Oi (4)

The latest book from my guilty pleasure author. This book follows the typical Hannah formula. A woman dealing with a failing marriage. This book has a great twist. In this story Jolene grew up with severely alcoholic and neglectful parents. When she is 18 they are both killed in a car accident. Jolene is alone and turns to the military for family where she meets her best friend Tami. She becomes a helicopter pilot. She marries the man of her dreams and they have 2 girls.(The youngest is Lulu). Eventually Jolene and her husband are at a crossroads. He has never approved of or supported her military career. When her husband tells her "I don't love you anymore" Jolene's world is turned upside down. But before she can deal with the situation Jolene and Tami are given their orders to deploy to Iraq. Now she must leave her family when they need her most. Little did they know that her homecoming would be the hardest part. This story will have you crying throughout the entire thing.

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#21 To Selena with Love 
by Chris Perez
Began 3-19-12
Downloaded to Kindle
Finished 3-20-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi Oi (4)

We have been on a Selena kick at our house. We watched the movie and we listen to the Selena Pandora station ALL THE TIME! When my cousin Vanessa posted about this book on Facebook I knew that I had to read it. It was great to hear a story that I already knew, from a different perspective. Chris tells the story of how be became a member of Los Dinos and how her fell in love with Selena. It gives an inside to their relationship. The good and the bad. He does not hold back or sugar coat everything. A very quick read and a must read for any Selena fan.


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#20 Good Christian Bitches
by Kim Gatlin
Began 3-16-12
Downloaded to Kindle
Finished 3/19/12
Rating Oi Oi O (2.5)

I decided to read this because I caught the show (GCB) on TV and it was pretty good. I was hoping the book would be as juicy and funny as the show. It was not. The TV show is loosely based on the novel. The novel revolves around Amanda Vaughn, who after leaving her cheating husband, she comes back to Texas with her 2 kids. She grew-up in a wealthy community and the high school mean girls are still out to get her. Amanda is wealthy, gorgeous and now single. The women of the town conspire to keep Amanda too busy so that their men stay far far away from her. Along with her Mother, Amanda has to deal with these mean girls as well as a secret admirer who is showering her with cars and clothes.

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#19 How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm
And Other Adventures in Parenting (from Argentina to Tanzania and everywhere in between)
by Mei-Ling Hopgood
Began 3-12-12
Borrowed from the library
Finished 3-16-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi Oi (4)

Mei-Ling Hopood gives us a glimpse of parenthood from all over the globe. Each chapter highlights a different culture and how they excel at specific things or how they differ from Western culture. This book was really interesting to me. I found that as a parent I am a little mix of a bunch of different cultures. There were a few highlights in this book that I really loved. When talking about how Lebanese American keep close knit families I found this quote...
"It builds within you as a child a very extraordinary level of confidence of belonging....It's not just belonging to your immediate family; it's belonging to something bigger than that. For me it's a feeling of deep rootedness and security. No matter what I do, where I go, what I need, in happiness or in grief, there is an authentic love, concern and sincerity about what happens to me and my children and my family".

I loved this. It described what it is like to be part of my family so perfectly. This book was such an eye opener on all these different ways to raise a child.


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#18 enjoy every sandwich
Living Each Day As If It Were Your Last
By Lee Lipsenthal, M.D.
Began 3-8-12
Borrowed from the library
Finished 3-12-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi O (3.5)

Very much like the book "The Last Lecture" this medical doctor tells his tale of how he learned to live his life to the fullest, even after being diagnosed with cancer. His findings can be summarized in these words, "meditation, exercise, rock 'n' roll, and therapy". He discusses how he copes and how his family copes. It is an honest book. The optimist in me loved this book. Just great book about how to live a positive life. Life is the sandwich and love is the filling.


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#17 Me and You 
by Niccolo Ammaniti
Began 3-2-12
Borrowed from the library
Finished 3-3-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi Oi O (4.5)

A short but powerful story by an Italian author. A super quick and simple story. A teenage boy with social issues lies to his parents about going on a ski trip with some classmates. Instead of admitting to his parents that he lied, he made a plan to stay the week in the basement of his building. What was suppose to be a week of video games and Nutella sandwiches took a very drastic turn when his half-sister shows up. Now her must help his sister, who is hardly knows, get through detox. I really really loved this book. A great story with a sad ending.


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#16 The Best Of Me 
by Nicolas Sparks
Began 2-25-12
Borrowed from the library
Finished 3-2-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi O (3.5)

I use to really really love Nicholas Sparks books. I would wait anxiously for the latest release and read them in one day. A while back I checked out a Nicholas Sparks book and could not get passed the first chapter. So after a bit of a break from Mr. Sparks I ventured back in with this book. It was a typical Sparks story. Bad marriage + trip back to the tiny town you grew up in + run in with old boyfriend + affair + crazy twist = happy ending. This book followed this formula. A good read for lounging by the pool.

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#15 Bringing Up Bebe
One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting

by Pamela Druckerman
Began 2-19-12
Downloaded to Kindle
Finished 2-24-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi Oi

Wow, I really liked this book. A New Yorker finds herself a first time Mom in the city of Paris, France. While she stumbles her way through parenthood she is amazed at how easy the French mothers around her make it look. She is determined to find out their secret. As she begins to learn these secrets I was surprised at how much I agreed with this Parisian philosophy of child-rearing. They are strict on somethings and not so strict on other things. There is not this insane competition between mothers. In  Paris there is no difference between a woman who has a natural child-birth and one who uses drugs. In Paris  most Mothers used a technique that the author calls "La Pause". All this means that if a child cries at night the parent will give the child about 5 minutes to soothe themselves. They feel that children need that time to help "Do their nights" (sleep through the night). Most people have 2 hour sleep cycles and babies are learning to connect those 2 hour periods. When a parent comes in every time a baby cried they are learning to wake up with each cycle. I had to laugh because with my oldest kid that is exactly what we did when she was an infant. But we did this out of sheer laziness. My oldest was sleeping through the night by 4 months. Just like most Parisian babies. This is just the tip of the techniques in this book. It discusses everything from school, field trips, food and discipline. I highly recommend this book to see the other side of the frantic stressed out American Mom.

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#14 When Parents Text
 by Lauren Kaelin and Sophia Fraioli
Began 2-21-12
Borrowed from the library
Finished 2-21-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi O


Picked this up because it looked cute. A book is based on the website whenparentstext.com and is made up of text messages that parents have sent. Put together by childhood BFF's this is a very fast read but super funny. Lots a great random, weird, and touching messages that parents are sending. I can totally relate. My parents have sent me some funny stuff over the years.


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 #13 The Vow 
by  Kim and Krickett Carpenter
Began 2-18-12
Downloaded onto Kindle
Finished 2-18-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi

I really should have read the book before even watching any of the movie trailers. The movie is made out to be a very romantic, sexy, love story. The book was not so much. The movie trailers lead me to believe that the story was about a wife who is in a car accident only a few months into her marriage. She wakes up from a coma and does not remember her husband. Instead she thinks that she is still with her ex-boyfriend. So the husband has to woe her all over again and make her fall in love. There is skinny dipping and flowers and laughing. Well the book was very different. The book is written by the couple who this happened to. There was an accident and she did forget her husband but there was no ex-boyfriend. No whirl-wind romantic dates, no skinny dipping in the ocean. In the book there was no romance. Even thier original courtship was dull and not at all exciting. After the accident the husband treats his wife like he is her coach. It is the wife's faith in God that leads her back to her husband. And what it felt like to me, they stayed together thanks to the media attention and I am sure the money. Of course their story is amazing and miraculous and yada yada but if I had not seen the movie trailers and was expecting a Nicholas Sparks type of love story I would not have been so disappointed with the reality of the book.

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#12 Sloppy Seconds
by Tucker Max
Began 2-16-12
Joey found this free download & had it sent to my Kindle
Finished 2-18-12
Rating Oi Oi O

This book was like reading something The Situation would write. Some a-hole dude who apparently got rich and famous for writing about what a d-bag he is. This book is the rejected stories from his 3 first books. I will admit there are some moments of clarity in the book. He is the type of guy who just tells it like it is, straight out. Very much like a Simon Cowell but even more with more sleeping with women and obnoxious behavior. About 1/4 of the way through the book i wanted to give up, but I knew it would be a fast read and it would be another notch on my reading belt. 




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#11 Diary of a Mad Fat Girl 
by Stephanie McAfee
Began 2-10-12
Given to me by the publisher
Finished 2-16-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi O

This is another paid book review. Will be up on the main blog next month!



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#10 Seriously......I'm Kidding
By Ellen Degeneres
Began 2-9-12
Borrowed from the Library
Finished
Rating Oi Oi O (2.5)

I really wanted to like this. I am an Ellen fan. I like the way she dances. Anyways this book was really nothing more than a lot of bad attempts to be funny. It almost felt like she was contracted to write a third book and just threw something together. Each chapter was about 2 1/2 pages long. There were even "coloring pages" for the kids. Yes pages of outlined kids pictures. Luckily this is a really quick read.


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#9 The Things We Do For Love
by Kristan Hannah
Began 2-5-12
Bought copy at the paperback exchange
Finished 2-9-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi

I warned you back at #2 that there was going to be a few Kristin Hannah on this list. This one followed the same formula as all the rest. Angie is from a big loving Italian family in a small town. After losing thier newborn baby Angie and her husband Conlan cant seen to find their way and after divorcing Angie movies back home. There she finds solace in helping bring back the family restaurant and in a young girl names Lauren. Lauren is a high school student. Perfect grades and everything any college would want. She is different from the other kids at her elite private school because she comes from a dead beat Mom and Lauren worked hard to earn a scholarship. While looking for a job Lauren and Angie meet. Despite warnings from her own Mother, Angie opens her home and her heart to this young girl. As Angie struggles to put her life back together, Lauren struggles through an issue that may change her entire future. As always Hannah adds a good twist. This book took me longer to get into and it wasn't until the last 5 chapters or so that the book really got good. Not one of Kristin Hannah's best, but even her not so great are pretty good.

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#8 Mockingjay
by Suzanne Collins
Began 1-30-12
Hardcover book lent to my by Jan!
Finished 2-4-12
Rating Oi Oi O (2.5)

Oh Katniss. In the first 2 books I grew to love you. Your suspenseful story gripped me. But this last book and this last adventure, for me was just too unbelievable. I kept thinking, she should have been dead by now. I found myself forcing myself through this book. And many times confused as to what was happening. There were so many new characters introduced and so may twists and turns. The last few chapters hooked me back into the story. This was the ending of the series and the last few pages gave us a brief look into the future. Without spoiling anything, I am happy with the way things ended up.


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#7 Catching Fire 
by Suzanne Collins
Began 1-28-12
Book was lent to me by the amazing Jan! Bonus it is an advanced copy and signed by the author!!
Finished 1-30-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi Oi (4)

I am so glad that Jan let me borrow books #2 AND #3! I don't know how people who read these book as they came out waited for the last book. What a cliffhanger ending. They drop a bomb and leave you with a million questions. This book was even better than the first. You think that Katniss and Peeta have been though the most awful things imaginable in the Hunger Games, but when the following year lands the 75th anniversary of the Hunger Games they are in store for even more torture. Katniss has pissed off the President with here little stunt during the Hunger Games and he is looking revenge while at the same time trying to keep the people of the Districts from revolting. It was what they don't know, the information that is kept from them that sets the stage for their future. Katniss has become a symbol of a revolution. A modern day (or is it future-day) Che.While reading this book I felt like my eyes could not move fast enough. I just had to know what was going to happen next. I found myself reading this book late into the night, at the drive-up ATM and anywhere else I would get a few minutes to read. The girls took a super extra long bath just so I could finish a chapter. Now it's time to crack open the 3rd book. The last book of a series are always so bittersweet. They wrap up the story for you and you can get on with your life, but the story ends.


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by Eleanor Brown
Began 1-22-12
Book was given to me by the publisher
Finished 1-28-12
Rating Oi Oi O (2.5)

This book is a paid review and the review can be found by CLICKING HERE





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by Flora Rheta Schreiber
Began 1-17-12
Purchased from Paperback Book Exchange for $1.00
Finished 1-21-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi (3)

Scary books are not my cup of tea. But reading this book was a matter of sticking it to the man, and by man I mean my Mom. When I was little I remember this paperback book in my house. The cover intrigued me and I asked my Mom if I could borrow it and she said NO! Then she donated the book. So of course since she said no I had to read it, and 25 years later I am!

So the first thing I said when I finished this book was, and I quote, "That was some F'ed up S". Now I now why my Mom refused to let me read this book. Sybil is a young college student with major mental issues. She blacks out for days at a time and cannot remember where she was or what she did. A young psychiatrist takes her on and through years and years and years of therapy it is revealed that because of years of HORRENDOUS child abuse at the hands of her Mother, Sybil has coped by splitting into 16 different personalities. SIXTEEN! The book is disturbing but also a really interesting look into mental disorders and how people cope with horrible conditions. I want to see the movie now!  

Also I learned that my Mom is the best Mom ever and protected my innocence with things like not letting me read Sybil or watch the end of Purple Rain. Thanks Momma!

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by Suzanne Collins
Began 1-13-12
Read on Kindle- recommended by Shannon K. and Erin V.
Finished 1-16-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi Oi (4)

SO....everyone told me that I would LOVE this book. I was a bit skeptical. When it comes to popular young adult book series, I loved the Twilight books and could not bring myself to open one of the Harry Potter books. So when the original hoop-la started about the Hunger Game series I brushed it off as too "Harry Potter"-ish. But people, most importantly people I admired and who's opinion I trusted started pushing this book on me. Like hard-core peer pressure. So, like always, I gave into peer pressure (sorry Mom!). So first off let me tell you that when I say I "Read' this book is that about 80% of it was read to me, by my Kindle. I can't read in the car so this whole text-to-speech feature is great for me and long drives to Santa Barbara. It is also good because sometimes when I read (and write) my brain is working too fast for my eyeballs and I tend to skip things.

So the story. Intense. Suspenseful. Violent, Graphic. It is part "The Most Dangerous Game" part "Lord of the Flies" with a little romance thrown in. Part of it made me think it was a political statement by the Occupy Everything people. Like here is the future, the 1% all in the Capitol, dressing like Lady Gaga and reality television has gone so out of whack that The Hunger Games are the new American Idol. The story is really captivating and I found myself dreaming about being the Arena a few times. The story was so well written that I could close my eyes and picture it all. Every gory detail. There where times when I felt a big squeamishness. What I loved was how although some of the plot was kind of predictable, the author makes it okay but calling it out herself. Like when it comes down to 4 tributes, you know and I know, who the last 3 will be and instead of dragging out the inevitable the author admits the outcome right then and there.

I really liked this book. I loved the suspense factor of it. It left you almost desperate to turn to page to find out what would happen next. The movie should be amazing, but why didn't you people tell me I would have to wait until March to see it?!?!?!?!?! I am looking forward to the second book which promises to have a Edward, Bella, Jacob thing happening. I also want to know. Is this the best book of the series???


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by Marlen Suyapa Bodden 
Began 1-9-12
Read on Kindle- recommended by Jessica 
Finished 1-12-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi O (3.5)

My BFF Jessica recommended this book. She had just read it and wanted someone to discuss it with. This is a book set during slavery times and centers around the women on a Alabama plantation. I love period pieces. I love being transported to another time. This book was 99 cents on Amazon. It took me a bit to figure out the time line. The story jumps back and forth in time and jumps back and forth between narrators. The story touches on the reality of what life was like on a cotton plantation. The struggles of a plantation owners wife, daughter and slave. The last few chapters dragged a bit for me but the epilogue makes up for it! It reminded me of a  the book "Cane River" by Lalita Tademy (Oprah's book club!).  If I had never had read "Cane River" (which was an amazing book!) I think I would have rated this book higher. But this book was a a step down in writing, dialogue, and character development. Still a quick read and well worth the 99 cents for the download. 


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by Kristin Hannah
Began 1-5-12
Borrowed from the library
Finished 1-9-12
Rating Oi Oi Oi O (3.5) 

So I will warn you now. There may be a few Kristin Hanna books on this list. She is the female version of Nicholas Sparks and my sister Cari and I have been making our way through all her books. Like all her books this is a great read and would make a perfect Lifetime movie. The story is about a woman who after 20 years of marriage finds herself alone. She heads home to Mystic Lake and reconnects with an old high school love who also is suffering through his own tragedy. So you can see where this is going right? They fall in love and then BAM her husband comes back. Like all Kristin Hannah books this one is pretty predicable but what I like is that she always throws one curve ball in there.


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#1- Waking Up In the Land of Glitter 
by Kathy Cano-Murillo
Began:1-1-12   
Read on Kindle 
Finished 1-4-12
Rating: Oi Oi Oi Oi O (4.5) 
The cool/weird part about reading this book is that I "know" the author. You may "know" her too. Kathy Cano-Murillo is also known as The Crafty Chica! I have been reading her blog for years. A few months ago I got to meet her at an appereance at Michaels where she has her own line of craft awesomeness. This is the second fiction book of hers I have read. (This is her first book. I read them out of order). The book was a quick and fun read. I found myself wondering the whole time "which character is Kathy?". Turns out she was a little bit of each of them. The story revolves around 3 women all at different stages of "craftiness" and 350 pounds of green glass glitter. A big project brings them together, then pulls them apart and then pulls them together again. This is not just Chick Lit, but Chicana Chick Lit. Right up my alley and I highly recommend it.


2012 Reading Challenge

2012 Reading Challenge
Elissa has read 16 books toward her goal of 50 books.
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Elissa's bookshelf: read

How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm: And Other Adventures in Parenting
Enjoy Every Sandwich: Living Each Day as If It Were Your Last
Me and You
The Best of Me
When Parents Text: So Much Said...So Little Understood
Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting
The Vow: The Kim & Krickitt Carpenter Story
Sloppy Seconds: The Tucker Max Leftovers
Diary of a Mad Fat Girl
Seriously...I'm Kidding
The Things We Do for Love
The Weird Sisters
Sybil: The True & Extraordinary Story of a Woman Possessed by Sixteen Separate Personalities
Catching Fire
Mockingjay
The Hunger Games
On Mystic Lake
The Wedding Gift
Uncharted TerriTORI
Comfort & Joy


Elissa's favorite books »
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5 comments:

  1. Shannon7:32 PM

    And she raises two kids! And feeds her husband and has a job! You are wonderwoman!! I look forward to your reviews!!! PS The Hunger Games will take you 30 mins a book :p Good luck, Elissa, I wish you the best and hope you make it to 51!

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  2. Wow, you're off to a roaring start. If this keeps up, you read more than I do, this year. I'm only on my 5th book.

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  3. Love this! Just catching up with your list- Adding "When Parents Text" to my reading list and looking forward to your review of "Diary Of A Mad Fat Girl!"

    Totally agree about #23 I Love Everyone (And Other Atrocious Lies) - I was so bummed after I read this essay installment by L.N. as I loved "The Idiot Girl's Action Adventure Club," "We Thought You'd Be Prettier," and "Autobiography OF A Fat Bride." That being said, she has a new one "It Looked Different On The Model" that I'll still check out.

    Thanks so much for sharing your reads! P.S. - Enjoy "Sbyil" the movie- I did watch it as an horror-loving adolescent- WOAH! Still disturbing!!! (And I still LOVE Sally Field!, er, "I like her, really, really like her")

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    Replies
    1. Oh my bad, I didn't link my review to Diary of a Mad Fat Girl on here. You can find it here..
      http://www.punkrockparents.net/2012/03/diary-of-mad-fat-girl-book-review.html

      I am so glad someone agrees with me on the Notaro books. I felt really bad writing up that review because I loved Idiots Girls so much!

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  4. Thanks! I also added "Enjoy Every Sandwich" and "Dear Old Love" to my list of books to check out. Can't wait to see how you round out your 2012 reads - Happy perusing!

    ReplyDelete