Wednesday, August 27, 2014

2014 Summer Reads

I have always loved to read. When I was growing up, I almost always had a book I was reading. Unfortunately, as I've gotten older, I seem to have a lot less time to read. During the school year, I barely have enough time to do all my homework and get a decent night's sleep. So usually reading for fun kind of falls off the radar.

In the first three months of 2014, I read three books. That's not a whole lot, and I think two of those I actually read over spring break when I wasn't in school.

But I made up for my lack of reading this summer. My summer went from the end of April to the end of August, and in those four months, I read eighteen books. I'm so happy I was able to read so much!

Since I'm always looking for new books to read, I thought I'd share with you the books I read this summer and what I thought about them. Maybe there will be one that interests you!

The Loveliest Chocolate Shop in Paris - Jenny Colgan
I absolutely loved this book! You know how obsessed I am with all things Paris and chocolate, so this book was really a no-brainer for me. It's about a young girl who gets a job working in a chocolate shop in Paris. She gets the job due to a recommendation from her old high school French teacher who knows (and used to be in love with) the owner of the shop. The book has chocolate, Paris, and romance in it - what more could you need?

The Fault in Our Stars - John Green
This was one of my favorite books I read all summer. I know that just about everyone has read it, but if you haven't, you really should. The movie was phenomenal as well. It was one of those books that made me laugh out loud and sob at the same time. Not too many books can do that to me, so I thought it was really well written. For being a book about a girl with cancer, I was actually surprised by the ending. For most of the book, I thought I had it figured out, but there's a little twist at the end.

Harry Potter Series - JK Rowling
I've been saying for years that I was going to re-read all the Harry Potter books one summer, and after thinking about it for several years, I decided this was finally going to be the summer where I did it. And now I'm wondering why I waited so long. This series is hands down my favorite book series. I don't know if anything will ever top Harry Potter.

I had read all seven books (The Sorceror's Stone, The Chamber of Secrets, The Prisoner of Azkiban, The Goblet of Fire, The Order of the Phoenix, The Half Blood Prince, and The Deathly Hallows) at least once prior to this, but it had been a long time since I had read any of them. Heck, it had probably been eight years since I had read the first one. This was the third time I had read The Half Blood Prince and the fourth time I had read The Deathly Hallows. Ha! I was so glad I read them all in succession though - it helped me catch some things I otherwise might not have noticed. I'm thinking re-reading the series is going to be something I do every couple of years because they are just that good. They made me laugh and cry all over again even though I knew what was going to happen.

The $100 Startup - Chris Guillebeau
This was one of the books I read for my Honors project. I thought it was an interesting business read, and I did enjoy reading it (which makes me sound like such a business nerd!). If you've ever thought of starting your own business, I would highly recommend this book!

That Wintry Feeling - Debbie Macomber
I read this book right before I left for Alaska because it's set in Alaska! It was a really quick and easy read (it was between 100-200 pages). It was a love story about a teacher who lives in Alaska. I thought it was a bit predictable, but I still enjoyed it. It wasn't my favorite, but it got me in the mood to go to Alaska!

French Toast - Harriet Welty Rochefort
Again with the Paris/French books. I have a problem! This was a great nonfiction book about an American woman who falls in love with and marries a French man. She now lives in France and wrote this book all about the French and the differences between France and the United States. I thought it was really interesting to learn more about the French culture. I could see this as a good book to read if you're planning a trip to France and want to know a little bit more about their culture.


Sugar and Iced - Jenn McKinlay
This book is part of Jenn McKinlay's Cupcake Bakery Mysteries. I love mystery books, and I love anything revolving bakeries, so this series is just perfect. Every book involves some type of murder, and the two main characters who own a cupcake shop together are always involved with it. They end up trying to figure out who the murderer is in each book. For being a mystery series, I think these are really well written because most of the time I can't figure out who the murderer is until the very end. I enjoyed this book, but I would for sure recommend the entire series (and reading them in order too!).

Social Media Field Guide - Krista Neher
This was another book I read for my Honors project. Since my project involved using social media, I found it helpful. If you work in social media or are working on a project that utilizes social media, then it would be useful. I wouldn't recommend it for a bit of light reading though ;) One thing that did bother me a bit though is that there were numerous grammar mistakes throughout the entire book. That doesn't really change the content of the book, but there were enough errors to bother me. If grammar mistakes bother you, I would pass on this book.

Twenties Girl - Sophie Kinsella
I love Sophie Kinsella. Like absolutely adore all of her books that I've read. I haven't read them all, but I've read the first few Shopaholic books and several of her stand alone titles. They are all funny and entertaining. This one was about a girl who's great aunt dies and come back as a ghost that only Lara can see. She helps her great aunt Sadie uncover some things about her life, and Sadie helps Lara straighten out her life as well. This book was great!

Pawley's Island - Dorothea Benton Frank
I like Dorothea Benton Frank's books because they pretty much all take place at the beach. They are perfect summer reads, and this one is no different. I thought the first few chapters were a little confusing and hard to get into, but once I got past them, I was sucked in and couldn't put this book down. It's about a group of unlikely friends who live on Pawley's Island. One of the girls, Rebecca, is being treated horribly by her husband, but with the help of her new friends, they help her take him to court and help Rebecca get her life back. It was a book about love, romance, family, friends, and the ocean. It also had a little mysterious element weaved in throughout the court proceedings.

Let's All Be Brave - Annie Downs
This was a fantastic book that really touched my heart. I think everyone would benefit from reading this book because who isn't a little afraid to be brave sometimes? I loved the tone of this book and how I felt like it was a letter written from a friend. The message was fantastic, and reading it made me want to go out and live my life more bravely. This will definitely be a book that I keep forever because it would be so applicable in many different stages of life. I can totally see myself pulling it off my bookshelf in the future even just to read one chapter when I need a little encouragement.

If I Stay - Gayle Forman
I've been seeing previews for this movie all summer, and I really want to see the movie, so I thought I'd read the book before the movie came out. I ended up reading this entire book on the drive down and back to Georgia a few weeks ago. This book was so good that I could hardly put it down. It was definitely an interesting concept where the main character Mia is in a car accident and is stuck between worlds. She has to decide whether or not to return to her body or to move on. I really enjoyed the book and it made me think a lot. I'm even more excited to see the movie now!

Those are all of the great books I read this summer. If you're looking for a new book to read next, I would definitely recommend checking some of these out!

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