Friday, March 16, 2012

Books I've Read in 2012

I love reading books meant for all ages.  Any book with stars by it is one I'd consider reading again in the future (or would consider having my kids read in the future) so presumably you (or your kids) might like it too.  If you've read (or wondered about) any of these books feel free to comment -- I'd love to chat with you...  Oh and if you love a book I don't (or vice versa), we can still be friends. 

***A Long Walk to Water, Linda Sue Park***
This is based on the true story of one of the "Lost Boys" of Sudan.  One of the stories takes place in 1985 and another in 2008.  Themes include survival and making a difference in the world.  Aimed at pre-teens/teens -- some violence.

Wonderstruck, Brian Selznick
I read this book and then Desiree (9) read it after me.  There are two stories that take place 50 years apart in this book -- one told through pictures and one through words.  Aimed at pre-teens.

The Sins of the Father, Jeffrey Archer
This novel is the second in a series and is set during the 1940's.  Themes include mistaken identity, war, family secrets and forbidden love.  Some language. 

Odd Man Out, Sarah Ellis
12 year old Kip spends the summer with his grandma and 5 girl cousins while his mom and step dad are on their honeymoon.  Themes include family secrets, finding out who you are and accepting others for who they are.  Aimed at pre-teens.

Harriet Spies Again, Helen Ericson
Harriet meets an interesting neighbour and tries to figure out the mystery in her nanny's life.  Harriet is not as quirky and complex as in the original book (and the same goes for Ole Golly) so fans may be disappointed.  Aimed at pre-teens.

Harriet the Spy, Louise Fitzhugh
I thought this book was awesome when I was young, but re-reading it now made me realize I don't want my 9 year old to read it just yet.  Harriet spies on her neighbours and friends and says things you would be ashamed to admit to thinking.  Aimed at pre-teens.

Catching Fire and Mocking Jay, Suzanne Collins
I have heard some say that the books are thought provoking, but there were opportunities for Katniss to be reflective that were overlooked by the author -- especially in book three.  In my opinion it's mindless violence with minor ethics (that are barely addressed in the novels themselves).  Aimed at pre-teens and teens.  

***You are Not So Smart, David McRaney***
This book is about "all the wonderful ways you delude yourself every day".  Procrastination, the need for order in a chaotic world and sticking to first impressions are all topics discussed.  Experiments are used to highlight how unaware and irrational we really are. 

The Last Sin Eater, Francine Rivers
Set in the Appalachian mountains in the 1850's, this novel is about the Welsh immigrants and their tradition of having a sin eater to rid them of their sins when they die.  10 year old Cadi seeks redemption and ultimately uncovers the dark secrets her community has kept hidden for decades. 

Margit: Books 1-4  Our Canadian Girl, Kathy Kacer
These books tell the story of a young girl during the 1940s and how her family adapts to life in Canada after immigrating during the war.  Aimed at pre-teens.  

Cutting for Stone, Abraham Verghese
Set in Ethiopia, this novel focuses on themes such as betrayal, healing and love and the significant effect our choices have on others and on our future.  I found this novel difficult to get into, but it was more manageable after the first couple chapters.  R rated.  

The Vow, Kim & Krickitt Carpenter with Dana Wilkerson
This book tells of the true events that inspired the movie "The Vow".  Shortly after their marriage, Kim and Krickitt were in a car accident that left Krickitt with no memory of the man she loved so much.  Themes include faith in God in the midst of trials and unconditional love.  (I recommend you read the book and skip the movie).

The Winter Garden, Kristin Hannah
This novel tells the story of two sisters and their emotionally absent mom.  Themes include family relationships, secrets and war-torn Leningrad.  I like stories that unfold naturally more than ones that hint of a revealing to come.

***The Soldier's Wife, Margaret Leroy*** 
Set in Guernsey during World War II, this book tells the story of a woman who cares for her daughters and her mother in law while her husband is away at war.  The Occupation affects the whole family in different ways.  Themes include love and the dilemmas of war.  Some language.   

A Stolen Life: A Memoir, Jaycee Dugard  
After reading Room, I found this book about Jaycee Dugard's real life kidnapping.  There is some R rated language and mature content introduced in the second chapter, but the rest of the book is not as descriptive.  Jaycee has an amazing outlook on life despite all she and her daughters have been through.  

Unshackled, Pastor Larry DeBruyn
This book Biblically refutes William P. Young's The Shack which has gained popularity among Christians and non-Christians alike.  Topics such as polytheism, heresy and the "Emerging church" are addressed.  An article at Insight for Living also highlights a lot of my concerns with the book The Shack.

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
I wanted to give this book a go seeing as it's been approved as appropriate literature for my school district (not sure what grade level though).  I thought the premise was interesting, but didn't care for the mid third of the book and I hope my kiddos aren't required to read it any time in the near future...  

What Alice Forgot, Liane Moriarty
39 year old Alice loses 10 years of her life after a bump on the head and finds that life is very different for her '29' year old self.  Themes including sibling relationships, marital relationships, amnesia and infertility.

Penelope: Books 1-3  Our Canadian Girl, Sharon McKay 
Set in Halifax in 1917, these books tell the story of the Halifax explosion and how life changes for Penelope, her dad and her sisters afterwards.  Aimed at pre-teens

Mandie and the Mysterious Bells, Lois Gladys Leppard  
Another Mandie series book aimed at pre-teens.  

The Best of Me, Nicholas Sparks
I gotta say, in my opinion, this isn't the best of Nicholas Sparks.  I noticed a lot of "Not that blah blah blah" sentences and it started to irk me.  Two highschool students who were in love reunite 25 years later after the death of a friend.  I found the novel too predictable to be enjoyable...  

If you want to, check out the Books I Read in 2011.

~ Chelsey ~


  1. I've read Francine Rivers "The Last Sin Eater" was wonderful. I really admire her work.

    1. Tammy, I really liked the book too. Have you ever read (or seen the TV series) "Christy" written by Catherine Marshall? It's set in the Appalachian mountains too. I recommend it!


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