52. Honesty – Seth King
Story – Cole Furman, a closeted gay kid in the South, discovers Nicky Flores at his gym and is plunged into his first tempestuous love affair.
Thoughts– This book made me angry. It was built around the whole insta-love thing, and there was a lot of repetitive description of how much Cole loved Nicky and how hot he was. (Surprisingly similar to Twilight, now that I think about it). More than that, it was a love story that was was also the story of someone treating someone else like shit. Nicky was an absolute bastard to Cole, and yet Cole not only took it but seemed to think it was all a matter of him not loving Nicky enough. For a love story to work I think you have to want the characters to get together, and in this one I was actively rooting against them quite honestly.
51. My Horizontal Life – Chelsea Handler
Story – True story of the sexcapades of Chelsea Handler.
Thoughts – She’s meant to be a comedian, but the book wasn’t very funny. She had a weird attitude towards her lovers, and this book just wasn’t that great.
50. Rachel’s Holiday – Marian Keyes
Story – Rachel, the third daughter in the Walsh family (from Marian Keyes other books) has a life that is rapidly spiralling completely out of control. After an accidental overdose, Rachel agrees to sign in to rehab at the Cloisters even as she denies she has a real problem. Hoping for celebrities and a spa-like atmosphere, Rachel is shocked to discover that she has to do the cleaning, a lot of group therapy, and there isn’t a massage or a celebrity in sight.
Thoughts – I think this was one of the first Marian Keyes books that I ever read, and obviously I liked it enough at the time to find and read all the others! Rereading it now I still really enjoyed it. Rachel is a relatable and likeable character, and the whole rehab experience is believable. I love the stories about the Walsh family, the similarities and differences in the sisters and the funny way they all interact, and I think Rachel’s Holiday is one of the best ones. I also really appreciate the way Marian Keyes is able to make all the men in her stories different too, since chick-lit often has dudes that are all basically the same person.
49. I Am Not Esther – Fleur Beale
Story – Kirby knows something is up. Her mother is behaving very strangely, and there have been some unexplained visitors. Even so, the last thing she expected was to discover that her mother had grown up in a very strict religious cult and that while she was going abroad, she was sending Kirby to live with them.
Thoughts – This is the first book in this series, although I read the others before I got this one. I didn’t love Kirby the way I loved Rebecca and Magdalene, but the story is still one that just reached out and grabbed me. The author does an excellent job of creating the very repressed and strict life lived by those of the Faith, and the characters of the people within its bounds.
48. Mammy Walsh’s A-Z of the Walsh Family
Story – Literally an A-Z list of things (with explanations) that pertain to the Walsh family.
Thoughts – Hilarious. Mammy Walsh is so funny, and it’s great to have this book that’s from her POV after seeing her in all the other Walsh family books.
47. Further Under the Duvet – Marian Keyes
46. Under the Duvet – Marian Keyes
Story – Biographical and opinion pieces written by Marian Keyes. Some appeared in newspapers or magazines, some on her website, and some were new.
Thoughts – Funny, interesting, touching…a lovely collection to read.
45. Raising Ryland – Hillary Whittington
Story –Ryland is a transgender child from California, who was born with a female body and a heart that was all boy. His mother wrote this book to tell her family’s story of raising a child who was born deaf and then received cochlear implants. Hillary thought the hard part was over, until Ryland used his newly developed speech to express his frustration at being forced to conform to a gender that felt completely alien to who he felt he was.
Thoughts – I loved this. It was a true and frank account of parents dealing with a lot of really tough issues, and doing it with grace and courage. And above all it’s a story about acceptance and what it really means to parent a child with unconditional love.
44. Being Magdalene – Fleur Beale
Story – This is another story in the series that include “I Am Rebecca”, which I read earlier in the year. This story is set several years later, when Rebecca’s younger sister Magdalene is thirteen, doing her best to live the Rule in an increasingly confusing and capricious world, where the godly lie and those she should be able to trust seem all too willing to let her fall.
Thoughts – I loved this book. Magdalene was a beautiful, heartbreaking protagonist and her fear and confusion and hope just reached out and pulled me right into the story. She was so easy to connect with. She made me love her and she made me cry, and she made this one of the best books I’ve read so far this year.
43. Making it Up As I Go Along – Marian Keyes
Story – More of Marian Keyes biographical columns and website musings.
Thoughts – This was good. I love Marian Keye’s books, and her personal writings are funny and touching and interesting. Very Irish and very fun, and it made me want to read her books all over again.
42. The Death Sculptor – Chris Carter
Story – Robert Hunter is once again on the trail of a killer, this time one who is nicknamed ‘The Sculptor’ for the gruesome sculptures he creates with his victims limbs.
Thoughts – Pretty good, like all the Chris Carter books. Probably not my favourite one though. The ending came completely out of left field, which is often a good thing in crime books but it all just seemed a little baffling to me.