RS (rainbowstevie) wrote,
RS
rainbowstevie

211 in 2011: A Retrospective (part 2 of 2)

Continued from part 1. These blurbs are mostly shorter; I'm running out of steam. Once again, links go to Amazon, so you may prefer the one-click-stop of my 2011 Year in Books on Goodreads.

August (19)
108. A Blue So Dark - Holly Schindler. 275 pg/2010. *** [8/5]
I'm frankly surprised this eked out 3 stars, since I remember it with only annoyance, and this author's Playing Hurt was so bad that in combination with this earlier effort, she ended up on my author blacklist.

109. Edges - Lena Roy. 162 pg/2010. ** [8/6]
I don't remember this one at all. What is it even about.

110. Girl, Stolen - April Henry. 213 pg/2010. *** [8/6]
Remember what I was saying about how most of the books about blind girls I read were thrillers? Here's one of them. First and only April Henry I read until this summer, actually, when I downed two of her audiobooks, I've got a third on request, and my eye's on more because I truly had no idea how prolific a genre writer she had become. Or that this now has a sequel!

111. The Winter of Our Disconnect [NF] - Susan Maushart. 265 pg/2010. ***½ [8/8]
If you thought going screen-free at home for six months in 2010 was hard...imagine this experiment now. (Actually, it's probably easier 'cause you could just be plugged into the internet on your phone as long as you didn't go inside.)

112. Between Sisters - Adwoa Badoe. 202 pg/2010. *** [8/9]
Still the only novel I've read set in contemporary, urban Africa, and a GREAT representative, as far as I can tell. I'll rec this book to absolutely anyone.

113. Stay With Me - Garret Freymann-Weyr. 308 pg/2006. ****½ [8/13]
I never reread this, but I still love it. It lives on my shelf making a beautifully matched compact pair with After The Moment, politely reminding me that next time I get a hankering for a teenager/adult pairing that nobody bats an eye at, this book is ready to go whenever.

114. The Hostage - Theodore Taylor. 159 pg/1987. **** [8/16]
I never actually watched Free Willy, but I was so surprised to realize it was based on a book -- let alone one by this notable author!

115. The Anti-Prom - Abby McDonald. 280 pg/2011. *** [8/17]
Yep, that's a solid 3-star YA right there.

116. Lost Dogs and Lonely Hearts - Lucy Dillon. 438 pg/2009. ***** [8/18]
I'm not sure if I still love this book quite as much, but I still own it, because OH BOY did my heart sure explode with rainbows back in 2011 when I read an adult book -- that was actually as full of dogs as the title and cover promised -- AND it was actually good! (I never did get farther than her 2nd book...I have one heckuva Dillon backlog)

117. Forever Changes - Brendan Halpin. 181 pg/2008. ***½ [8/19]
Bought this at the dollar store a couple years after reading it because even though I'm sure the CF treatments are outdated now, at the time it was by far the most modern book with the disease I'd ever seen, and I appreciated it on principle.

118. The Kings Are Already Here - Garret Freymann-Weyr. 149 pg/2003. ** [8/19]
Her only dud.

119. The Cinderella Society - Kay Cassidy. 322 pg/2010. **½ [8/21]
Cheesy beyond belief, but I'm sure 10-year-olds would love it and I can't begrudge them.

120. The Daughters Break the Rules - Joanna Philbin. 276 pg/2010. *** [8/21]
Remember when I thought the Daughters series was gonna be the next Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, but then I rapidly outgrew each installment (of this one) until I didn't even read the 4th one? I still recommend it for young YA readers, though.

121. Hot Lunch - Alex Bradley. 276 pg/2007. ***½ [8/21]
I have an ex-library copy of this novel that I bought mainly for the recipes, but I regret nothing.

122. This Gorgeous Game - Donna Freitas. 208 pg/2010. **** [8/23]
Things I Know Now That I Didn't Then: a) Donna Freitas is gonna be an author I read a lot. B) this was inspired by her real-life experiences. (YIKES)

123. Cures for Heartbreak - Margo Rabb. 256 pg/2007. **½ [8/25]
I just could NOT connect with this book, though I liked her next one just fine.

124. Cloaked in Red - Vivian Vande Velde. 127 pg/2010. *** [8/27]
Just realized that in my memory, I thought she was the same person as Wendelin Van Draanen (THEY SOUND SIMILAR). I have in fact only read two from Triple-V. All I got is...this collection of Red Riding Hood-themed stories was better than Witch Dreams.

125. Store Bought Baby - Sandra Belton. 246 pg/2006. *** [8/28]
*Michael Scott "declaring bankruptcy" voice* I...remember...nothing!! I also always weirdly remember this cover as having a baby carriage on top of a hill, instead of legs on a slight rise in some grass taken from a low angle, which probably explains why I always think it's about finding or abandoning a baby when it's actually -- REMEMBER IT THIS TIME, SELF -- about a girl whose older, adopted brother killed himself (store bought referring to adoption), and her search to find his birth parents because reasons.

126. Confessions of a Serial Kisser - Wendelin Van Draanen. 294 pg/2008. ** [8/29]
Speaking of the real Wendelin, I have actually read 4 of hers and this is by FAR the worst and dumbest one (and only one below 3 stars).

September (13)
127. Wolves, Boys, & Other Things That Might Kill Me - Kristen Chandler. 371 pg/2010. ****½ [9/3]
CHANDLER, MY BELOVED! One of the rare debuts I caught new back in the day, and correctly identified as amazing and an author I wanted to watch for (...whose third novel I still haven't read oop). I own a copy of this now.

128. One Whole and Perfect Day - Judith Clarke. 250 pg/2006. **** [9/10]
I remember this one because I read it on the drive to the first time I ever had to physically go to the offices of the work-from-home company I'd worked for for a year. I was very nervous about the "meet and greet" I was going for, so reading this while Dad drove helped soothe my nerves. Oh, the book? Yeah, it was surprisingly good. I don't remember why or what it was about except that it was Australian, but hey.

129. Jump - Elisa Carbone. 258 pg/2010. **½ [9/11]
I really want to know why I thought a book about rock-climbing teens would be fun.

130. Sweet William: A Memoir of Old Horse - John Hawkins. 269 pg/1993. *** [9/18]
Man, I was really trying hard to be a Grown Up who reads Grown Up Books at this point, huh? What a depressing, horrible Literature book I wish I could have warned myself away from. There's a whole world of women's fiction out there, Past Me!! You'd just found Lucy Dillon! Don't be snookered in by these fake animal books.

131. The Secret Diary of Ashley Juergens - "Ashley Juergens". 230 pg/2010. ***½ [9/18]
I could never enjoy this now, but when I was still entrenched in the hell that was Secret Life of the American Teenager...it really helped me appreciate the insanity in book form. I feel like you have to be familiar with the source material to truly understand how funny Ashley's deadpan snark about it is.

132. Where the Truth Lies - Jessica Warman. 308 pg/2010. **** [9/18]
My favorite of the 3 I've read from her, I just don't remember it.

133. One Second After - William Forstchen. 350 pg/2009. ****½ [9/19]
This premise was amazing to me, and I hadn't even MET my now-beloved TV show Revolution yet! The fact that the lead character's surname is only one letter off Matheson has made me want to reread this multiple times since -- I only love post-apocalyptic survival stories more now, AND now there are sequels! -- but I have to be in the right mood. Also have to psych myself up for the part where one of the characters is a type 1 diabetic like my husband, whom I also hadn't met yet in 2011, and they do not have a pleasant time on their way to inevitable death.

134. Coffeehouse Angel - Suzanne Selfors. 276 pg/2009. *** [9/19]
Silly-cute.

135. Bliss - Lauren Myracle. 464 pg/2006. ***½ [9/23]
One of only two books (of 5) I've actually liked from her. Historical and horror? That's quite the mix! I found out later it's also the sequel (or really, prequel) to Rhymes With Witches, which I wish I'd known before I read it since I had read that one several years earlier and the ending to this one might have confused me less had I known.

136. The Last Good Place of Lily Odilon - Sara Beitia. 301 pg/2010. ** [9/26]
Another fail from Flux! I am honestly still not over how many duds I came across from them enough to give this imprint another chance, even though it's small and local. Periodically I look at their website and think, "Maybe?" but I simply do not trust.

137. See No Evil - Jamila Gavin. 199 pg/2008. *** [9/26]
I...remember...nothing! (part II)

138. My Ultimate Sister Disaster - Jane Mendle. 198 pg/2010. *** [9/28]
I know it was a light, cute, fast read...

139. Plus - Veronica Chambers. 271 pg/2009. *** [9/28]
Same, with an extra hat tip for being about a plus size model (for whom nothing ever goes particularly wrong).

October (26)
140. The Life of Glass - Jillian Cantor. 340 pg/2010. ***½ [10/2]
I wish I remembered this better, because what I do remember is that it's WAY better than The September Sisters. Another one of those really solid YA novels, serious and thoughtful.

141. Peace, Love and Baby Ducks - Lauren Myracle. 289 pg/2009. **** [10/2]
Definitely my favorite of hers! I don't remember it well, but I know I was impressed and I am still routinely baffled that Myracle My Nemesis wrote such a good novel, funny and serious/thought-provoking by turns.

142. Kiss My Book - Jamie Michaels. 274 pg/2007. **½ [10/3]
My tolerance for giving ridiculous nonsense books a chance was SO HIGH once, y'all.  (See also: Confessions of a Serial Kisser)

143. Wonderland - Joanna Nadin. 208 pg/2009. *** [10/3]
Is Jude or Stella the more aggravating character? Trick question, the answer is both! Did I really like the writing enough to give it 3 stars??

144. Tempo Change - Barbara Hall. 247 pg/2009. **½ [10/7]
2.5? After Wonderland got 3?? But the premise and cover and author are all so promising...which I know is how it got me the first time, but even so, I could be fooled again.

145. Four Seasons: A Novel in Four Movements - Jane Breskin Zalben. 322 pg/2011. **½ [10/11]
SEE ABOVE. Even though I keep thinking this is the same book as The Lucy Variations, which I remember in slightly more detail and with more fondness.

146. The Diamonds - Ted Michael. 342 pg/2009. *** [10/13]
Paging the Ridiculous Museum!! Though perhaps if I had seen an episode of Gossip Girl prior to reading, I would have enjoyed casting the clique with characters from that show.

147. Vintage Veronica - Erica Perl. 277 pg/2010. *** [10/14]
I don't remember why this disappointed me, but I wanted more from such an awesome setting. Thankfully I have read many great books about vintage clothing shops since, albeit none in YA.

148. Animal Patients: 50 Years in the Life of an Animal Doctor [NF] - Edward Scanlon w/ Martha Scalon Ronemus. 219 pg/2000. **** [10/16]
Bought at a used book sale, I don't remember the specifics but I obviously enjoyed it as much as any other vet bio (used to read scads of them!)

149. Willow - Julia Hoban. 329 pg/2009. **** [10/17]
This was a real standout for me in 2011. I bought an ex-library copy later on and one day I will go back to it. Love a good "older brother takes in teen sibling after parents are killed" in YA. Add in self injury, and you've got a real RS kind of book. I dug the romance, too.

150. The Vinyl Princess - Yvonne Prinz. 313 pg/2010. ***½ [10/17]
I liked this a lot better than All You Get Is Me. If I don't already have a copy (though I'm pretty sure I do), I want one; my memory has grown fonder over time. I'm not really much for records in real life, but I do think it's wild that this is a rare example of a YA book that might actually be more relatable now than it was published, as demand for records has only grown.

151. Jump - Ginger Rue. 217 pg/2010. *** [10/18]
Does YA even still publish books this silly, or do they get kicked down to middle grade at the door?

152. Summer Hawk - Deborah Savage. 297 pg/1999. **** [10/19]
I've reread this one since -- possibly for a third time, because I have the oddest feeling I read it when it was new (not least because I read and loved most of her others), which would have been before I started keeping a reading log -- and I still own and love it.

153. Where I Belong - Gwendolyn Heasley. 291 pg/2011. ***½ [10/20]
Another one where my memory grew fonder over time. I really like this setting, and the story/main character are endearing.

154. The Six Rules of Maybe - Deb Caletti. 321 pg/2010. ***½ [10/21]
This lands in the middle of the Caletti pack for me. The characters are more memorable than the books below it, though I don't recall the plot, but I'm still mad about the brother-in-law being a smoker. If that's one of the first things you learn about a person, how does that not kill a crush in its tracks??

155. Lions and Tigers and Mares...Oh My! [NF] - Gay Louise Baillet. 325 pg/2004. **** [10/22]
The title alone made me smile, so there's that! An animal lover who works as "an assistant to her veterinarian husband" (a man who treats exotic as well as domestic animals) has some pretty cool stories to tell.

156. Citizen Mitten [NF] - William Voedisch. 200 pg/2009. **** [10/23]
Cat memoir that is also local! Win.

157. Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss & Love [NF] - Matthew Logelin. 262 pg/2011. **** [10/23]
I can't believe KEVIN HART is the dude who adapted this into a movie (Fatherhood, screwed out of theaters and direct to Netflix because of covid). And while it looks like a perfectly good movie, and I will probably watch it at some point, the casting is throwing me for a major loop given that the real family is super-Scandinavian-looking. Also kinda bummed because a fictionalized version of this story SHOULD have been the perfect vehicle for me to absolutely swoon over the actor in the lead role, and IDK about you but I have never once swooned over Kevin Hart*.

*update: just scanned the plot on Wikipedia. Apparently in 2015, it was originally announced with Channing Tatum in the lead? Feelin' some real I HAVE NO MOUTH AND I MUST SCREAM feelings right now

...the book? Yeah it was really good.

158. Dog Years: A Memoir [NF] - Mark Doty. 216 pg/2007. *** [10/24]
Barely staggered over the 3-star threshold on the strength of the dog parts alone. Oh, you thought it was all about dogs? Me too.

(I vaguely wonder if I might have appreciated it more if I'd waited just a few more months, until the Klaine switch clicked on in my brain and I couldn't read books about m/m relationships fast enough, but...feel like I still would not have appreciated the writing style)

159. Elixir - Hilary Duff. 336 pg/2010. *** [10/24]
Honestly, I will take a thousand Influencers and Tiktok stars getting book deals for their contemporary YA novels over an actress I actually like getting a book deal for a boring fantasy trilogy. I never advanced beyond the one.

160. Side Effects - Amy Goldman Koss. 146 pg/2006. *** [10/26]
Smile, you're in a candid cancer book! Good and realistic detail. Unfortunately, also a realistically bratty main character.
(update: wait, her name was Izzy? OK boom, mentally casting her as the daughter from L.A.'s Finest. Who even helpfully shaves her head!)

161. Virals - Kathy Reichs. 454 pg/2010. ***½ [10/30]
Loved Bones the TV series, was never interested in the dry-looking books that inspired it, though. Thought a YA version would be just the ticket... but then, a wild science fiction element appears! And I was like "peace out," never to return.

162. Slept Away - Julie Kraut. 303 pg/2009. *** [10/31]
The return of the 3-star-YA I don't remember.

163. The Alison Rules - Catherine Clarke. 264 pg/2004. *** [10/31]
How have I JUST NOW clocked that this is the same author as Wish You Were Here?? Maybe because this one was way more serious (and I don't think I liked it quite as much).

164. Tweet Heart - Elizabeth Rudnick. 266 pg/2010. *** [10/31]
A novelty novel composed almost entirely of tweets, from when Twitter was still just a baby in disguise. I didn't even care about this much, beyond thinking the gimmick was cute, and honestly I'd probably still feel the same because I am sure the story content was average as can be, but I wish I owned a copy because I am a MUCH bigger fan of books told in alternative formatting now than I was then. gimme ALL the art-design work!

165. Chasing Alliecat - Rebecca Fjelland Davis 277 pg/2011. **½ [10/31]
This was Flux-published AND by an author who gave me a 1-star book at the beginning of the year; WHAT WAS I ON, THINKING IT WOULD BE WORTH READING.

November (26)
166. All Rivers Flow to the Sea - Alison Mcghee. 168 pg/2005. [11/2]
Alliecat still wasn't as bad this one, though. I'm frankly shocked Flux isn't responsible.

167. Countdown - Deborah Wiles. 376 pg/2010. *** [11/3]
The subject matter wasn't high on my interests list, but the book design is pure ART. I love so much that teens have this.

168. Mostly Good Girls - Leila Sales. 327 pg/2010. **** [11/4]
I remember this so fondly, but I'm not sure why. were the characters REALLY as much like me and my best friend as I thought they were at the time?

169. Dirty Little Secrets - C.J. Omololu. 212 pg/2010. ***½ [11/4]
A) I still remember this in vivid detail, how good this book about the child of a hoarder was, right up until the ridiculous and ridiculously abrupt bummer of an ending.

B) I am in AGONY that I didn't save the "bonus chapter" once available on the author's website, because now she's dead and the website's gone and her books have faded into obscurity, and nobody seems to know where I can get it again. I don't even remember what happened in it except that it made the ending a LOT better, pushing it up to 4 stars (at least I learned my lesson and saved the bonus/new ending chapter for Leap of Faith, which serves a similar purpose for a book I liked better overall. HMU if you ever need it!)

170. Miles from Ordinary - Carol Lynch Williams. 197 pg/2011. ** [11/5]
Reader, this title could not be a less accurate description of its content.

171. The Comeback Season - Jennifer E. Smith. 246 pg/2008. **** [11/5]
The first Jennifer E. Smith book I ever read. Still great! I have an ex-library copy now too.

172. Books: A Memoir [NF] - Larry McMurty. 259 pg/2008. ****½ [11/6]
This was definitely amazing, but I think that if I tried to read this now, I would simply be overwhelmed by jealousy that he had the money to buy the space for housing thousands upon thousands of books. Not counting the antiquarian bookstore he ran when you could still make a good living at that.

173.  Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - Ransom Riggs. 352 pg/2011. ***** [11/6]
I've burned out on this series now, but I was and still am very enchanted by the art design. This is a rare one where the movie is very different, but I loved the movie the same amount. I also reread it immediately after seeing the movie, and I loved it just as much the 2nd time.

174. Lost For Words - Alice Kuipers. 210 pg/2010. ** [11/6]
A title that accurately describes my ability to form thoughts about its boring content (at least I remember the Big Tragedy the MC is repressing)[Spoiler (click to open)]
(her sister was killed in a train bombing in London)


175. The Baby-Sitters Club: The Summer Before - Ann M. Martin. 215 pg/2010. *** [11/7]
Loved the OG series as a kid. I haven't read one of them in over 20 years, but that didn't stop me from enjoying this prequel.

176. Revolution - Jennifer Donnelly. 496 pg/2010. **** [11/8]
Me then: omg 500 pages I canNOT, no matter how much I loved A Northern Light
Me when I tried anyway and somehow managed it: wow that was way better than I thought it would be! Donnelly is the BEST!
Me now: omg 500 pages I canNOT

(That said, I've only read 3 Donnelly books, but she has yet to disappoint. This one lands in 2nd place, but it's a tight race)

177. What Comes After - Steve Watkins. 334 pg/2011. **** [11/10]
I recently mentioned wanting to reread this one -- just has a lot of elements I'd like to revisit.

178. Stray - Stacey Goldblatt. 276 pg/2007. *** [11/13]
I can't believe how little I remember (i.e. none) of a book that was apparently full of dogs!

179. Between Shades of Gray - Ruta Sepetys. 344 pg/2011. **** [11/15]
I loved this book before it was cool! I mean, I forgot almost all of it, but I still hold it in high regard. I need to see the movie.

180. The Fur Person - May Sarton. 106 pg/1957. ***½ [11/18]
I eventualy donated this after reading my copy, but it's a charming lil' book for adults (or all ages) told from the perspective of the author's cat.

181. A Girl Can Dream - Betty Cavanna. 189 pg/1948. **** [11/18]
I really wish I knew where I put my copy. I don't think I was even tracking that it was a BETTY CAVANNA book at the time, I just liked that it was vintage. Now that I'm actually looking for Cavanna books, she's proven surprisingly hard to run across in the used-book wild, so I'm extra-glad I have this.

182. Stolen - Lucy Christopher. 320 pg/2009. **** [11/19]
I wish I could remember where I heard of this -- I feel like this is a book I actually anticipated, because I was down 4 a Stockholm Syndrome scenario to ship (and was so bummed when I didn't! It's faded to more like 3 stars in my memory as a result).

183. Light Beneath Ferns - Anne Spollen. 206 pg/2010. ** [11/20]
THERE'S the other Fluxer. I knew I hadn't run out of examples to skewer yet.

184. Please Ignore Vera Dietz - A.S. King. 326 pg/2010. **½ [11/21]
"Dear title: done."  Honestly, Vera annoyed me so much I could never bring myself to read King again.

185. Somebody's Crying - Maureen McCarthy. 384 pg/2010. **½ [11/21]
This is when I figured out that McCarthy is just not an author I click with.

186. Lipstick Apology - Jennifer Jabely. 321 pg/2009. *** [11/24]
3-star basic.

187. All You Get Is Me - Yvonne Prinz. 288 pg/2010. *** [11/26]
Substantial -- a YA novel I'd recommend -- but not personally one that clicked for me nearly as much as the other book I read from her (Vinyl Princess).

188. The Mourning Wars - Karen Steinmetz. 240 pg/2010. *** [11/26]
Pretty bland for a kidnapped-by-Native-Americans story (a subgenre of istorical fiction I used to gobble up. Was this the last one I read??)

189. Poser - Sue Wyshynski. 259 pg/2010. *** [11/28]
Fluff, but fun fluff.

190. Good Girls - Laura Ruby. 274 pg/2006. [11/30]
STILL MAD ABOUT THE GROSS HOOKUP DETAIL OF THIS ONE. Why won't it leave my brain.

191. Flygirl - Sherri L. Smith. 256 pg/2009. ***½ [11/30]
You want some diversity in your historical fiction? Right here! This author does real solid work and this is one I definitely recommend.

December
192. Into The Wild Nerd Yonder - Julie Halpern. 256 pg/2009. *** [12/2]
Pretty sure there was gross hookup content in this, luckily I don't remember it.

193. Heat Wave - "Richard Castle." 198 pg/2009. **** [12/3]
This book series was honestly exactly what I, a newly minted Castle fan, needed at the time. You know how much I've come to rely on processing my feelings about my fave TV characters via "casting" them in novels...

194. Beautiful Malice - Rebecca James. 272 pg/2010 ** [12/3]
IT WAS SO BORING.

195. Certain Poor Shepherds - Elizabeth Marshall Thomas. 128 pg/1996. **** [12/4]
I probaby would not rate this quite so high now, but as a person trying to read more adult books, it was good.

196. Just Like That - Martha Qualey. 240 pg/2005. ***½ [12/11]
This book comes up a lot on lost-book forums, and for someone who thought I didn't really remember it, it turns out a surprising number of details are recognizable enough to ping my brain. 3.5 stars was perfect because it bugs me that honestly, I know the writing was really good -- -- but I really did not love the age difference between the teens or the hookup aspect.

197. The Running Dream - Wendelin Van Draanen. 352 pg/2011. *** [12/15]
Don't really remember this, so it ranks 3rd among the 4 I've read from her.

198. Naked Heat - "Richard Castle." 290 pg/2010. ***½ [12/17]
Despite being much less formulaic than the CSI tie-in novels, it's honestly wild that I can't tell any of the first 3 Nikki Heat books apart in my memory. That's what happens when you write vague 2-sentence reaction-reviews instead of real ones.

199. Angel's Choice - Lauren Baratz-Logsted. 248 pg/2006. **½ [12/17]
200. The Thin Pink Line - Lauren Baratz-Logsted. 296 pg/2003. ***½ [12/19]
Honestly I'm not even sure how I ended up finding a YA novel and an adult novel of hers on the same theme at the same time. Surely I did not go looking for her books on purpose?? I'd adjust them both to a flat 3 stars now, I think, even though I agree The Think Pink Line is better, if only because it's a lot funnier.

201. The Big Crunch - Pete Hautman. 281 pg/2011. *** [12/20]
One day, I'm going to see some random movie with characters that perfectly remind me of the boy adn girl in this one, and I'm gonna reread it with that casting in mind and have a better time.

202. Summer and the City (Carrie Diaries #2) - Candace Bushnell. 416 pg/2011. ***½ [12/22]
Better than the first one but would not read again.

203. Something, Maybe - Elizabeth Scott. 217 pg/2009. **1/2 [12/23]
Yeah this one's a real meh.

204. The Year Without Michael - Susan Beth Pfeffer. 164 pg/1987. **** [12/24]
I was so pleasantly SHOCKED to discover this at the library, having assumed Life As We Knew It was her debut. I still haven't read most of her back catalog, but want to, since they're mostly realistic novels. If I recall, this book ends with Michael still missing, which is a sucker punch of a choice, but an impressively bold one.

205. A Small Furry Prayer: Dog Rescue and the Meaning of Life [NF] - Steven Kotler. 289 pg/2010. *** [12/25]
I used to read absolutely any memoir the library HAD in the pet section. I no longer have the time or frankly the inclination. Chihuahuas are right there next to pit bulls in "least cute dog breeds."

206. The Homeschool Liberation League - Lucy Frank. 279 pg/2009. *** [12/25]
This looks cute but I don't remember anything that happens in it.

207. Heat Rises - "Richard Castle". 320 pg/2011. **** [12/27]
See number 198.

208. Heartbreak River - Tricia Mills. 248 pg/2009. *** [12/27]
This one really read like a cookie-cutter romance novel for teens, but with a side of tragic backstory.

209. The Eleventh Plague - Jeff Hirsch. 278 pg/2011. *** [12/27]
Boring in my memory, but glad I read it because this comes up as a lost title a lot.

210. My Heartbeat - Garret Freymann-Weyr. 154 pg/2002. **** [12/28]
And HERE we have the first book I ever read with a same-sex relationship on purpose, after the Klaine switch flipped on in my brain. After scanning my library options, which included this, I figured I could trust her based on her previous 5-star books, and I also liked the fact that one boy's sexuality was somewhat unclear and he spent much of the book dating the female main character, so it kind of eased me in. This really was the perfect introduction into LGBTQ books for me, and I am so proud of Past Me's careful research and good instincts -- the wrong one could have sent me recoiling and closed off the path for another 2-3 years or even more, easy.

211. Fact of Life #31 - Denise Vega. 384 pg/2008. *** [12/31]
It's bugged me for YEARS that I can't remember what the title fact was. Or any of the facts, actually! Or what the plot was.

But here's a fun fact about me: I deliberately waited until the last day of the year to start this because I knew if I finished my goal early, I wouldn't be able to hold myself back and I WOULD overshoot my target, and something like "214 in 2011" just doesn't sound cool at all. This way, I kept myself on edge.
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