Completed Book Challenge 2014

completed book challenge

Another year, done and dusted! Here are the new books that I have made it through this year. I managed some rereads in between, but I cannot count those again. It was most enjoyable. Thanks to all who gave me recommendations that I got to, it was lovely!

1. The Fault In Our Stars – John Green

2. The Perfect Husband (FBI Profiler Series – Quincy #1) – Lisa Gardner

3. Sworn to Silence (Kate Burkholder #1) – Linda Castillo

4. One False Move – Alex Kava

5. Windmills of the Gods – Sidney Sheldon

6. Night Shift – Stephen King

7. The Third Victim (FBI Profiler Series – Quincy #2) – Lisa Gardner

8. The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

9. Unseen (Georgia #5) – Karin Slaughter

10. Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

11. Pray for Silence (Kate Burkholder #2) – Linda Castillo

12. The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower #1) – Stephen King

13. Horns – Joe Hill

14. The Perks of Being a Wallflower – Stephen Chbosky

15. An Abundance of Katherines – John Green

16. Mailman: A Novel – J Robert Lennon

17. Whitewash – Alex Kava

18. Shutter Island – Dennis Lehane

19. The Rolling Stones: 50 – Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ronnie Wood

20. Fight Club – Chuck Palahniuk

21. Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green & David Levithan

22. Drive – James Sallis

23. Looking for Alaska – John Green

24. Are You Afraid of the Dark? – Sidney Sheldon

25. The Silence of the Lambs (Hannibal Lecter #2) – Thomas Harris

26. Under the Knife – Tess Gerritsen

27. A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) – George R.R. Martin

28. Dracula – Bram Stoker

29. Dead Until Dark (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #1) – Charlaine Harris

30. Tell Me Your Dreams – Sidney Sheldon



That was the original challenge. I finished all of those and then decided to up it to fifty.

31. Living Dead in Dallas (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #2) – Charlaine Harris

32. Paper Towns – John Green

33. Club Dead (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #3) – Charlaine Harris

34. One Scream Away (Sheridan #1) – Kate Brady

35. Dead to the World (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #4) – Charlaine Harris

36. Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1) – Isaac Marion

37. Dead as a Doornail (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #5) – Charlaine Harris

38. Heart-Shaped Box – Joe Hill

39. Definitely Dead (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #6) – Charlaine Harris

40. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

41. All Together Dead (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #7) – Charlaine Harris

42. Cop Town – Karin Slaughter

43. From Dead to Worse (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #8) – Charlaine Harris

44. The Bad Place – Dean Koontz

45. Dead and Gone (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #9) – Charlaine Harris

46. A Drink Before The War (Kenzie & Gennaro #1) – Dennis Lehane

47. Dead in the Family (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #10) – Charlaine Harris

48. The Villa – Nora Roberts

49. Dead Reckoning (The Southern Vampire Mysteries / Sookie Stackhouse #11) – Charlaine Harris

50. Darkness, Take My Hand (Kenzie & Gennaro #1) – Dennis Lehane

Well, there we have it folks. I know I have some recommendations that were given to me, they are on my list, they will most likely make the new year’s challenge 🙂 Thanks so much to everyone who read, commented and recommended, it is much appreciated!

Review: Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

gillian flynn gone girl book cover

Nick Dunne and his wife, Amy, seem to have what is the perfect marriage. Well, at a stage it was. Living in New York and perfect, things change when Nick loses his job, and Amy does, too. Their charmed life collapses, and when Nick’s sister Margo (“Go”), calls them to tell them that Nick’s mom Maureen is dying, he grabs at the opportunity as a lifeline. Telling his wife to pack up their unhappy little marriage, they move out to North Carthage, Missouri. Their lives continue there, Nick buys a bar with his sister Go with money borrowed from Amy. However, on the morning of their fifth anniversary, Amy disappears without a trace, wholly and completely. Nick receives a phone call from his neighbour saying that the cat is outside and the door open. This does not phase Nick until he arrives home to find the living room wrecked, Amy gone. He calls in the police and an investigation promptly begins, Nick (naturally, as the husband), being a person of interest. Amy’s disappearance is not right, and the timing is bad. Nick is left to start the treasure hunt that his wife has left behind, the one that she prepares annually to mark the year that has past.

The more the police look, the more things are not making sense, shedding a really bad light on Nick. As though things were not bad enough, matters are not helped by the fact that he seems somewhat aloof. Amy’s parents, Rand and Marybeth, arrive soon. The trio hover around together, Amy’s parents more upset than he is. Their whole life they have marketed Amy. She was their gift and they plagiarized her life to write their Amazing Amy books, which made a family fortune. Amy has always had strange people surround her, people that were not willing to let her go, and it seems that just one of those people have resurfaced and taken her. Marybeth insists that Nick get more involved with finding her daughter, and he agrees. He starts to call around to the old stalkers and menaces that Amy encountered growing up, though they are of no help. Nick has a problem, too, and her name is Andie. Andie is a young student of his (when he teaches journalism part time at the college), and they are involved in an illicit affair. Nick was ready to end everything with Amy for Andie, and now Amy is gone. All the while, Nick is trying to solve the clues left behind by his wife for their anniversary hunt. The more he uncovers, the more he falls in love with his wife again, though he was sure he could never feel that with her again.

Evidence starts to point more and more to Nick, and his lying and cheating are not helping the matter. Soon his infidelities will be unearthed, and the press has been jumping between loving and hating him. He knows that the news of Andie will be the nail in his coffin.  The police start locking down on Nick when it is discovered that an awful lot of blood was spilled in the Dunne kitchen and quickly cleaned up, and that the ottoman in the lounge could not have been flipped in an argument, but intentionally. Nick is the number one suspect for the cops. Go is furious about finding out that Nick has been screwing around on his wife even though she is not a fan of Amy, but won’t say anything. At the end of Nick’s treasure hunt, he makes an absolutely awful discovery…

What will Nick do with what he has exposed along the way of his treasure hunt? What happened to Amy? Will she be found safely, or has something much more sinister happened to her? Is Nick guilty of murdering his wife? What will happen when all of Nick’s secrets are splashed out for the world to hear, to judge him on? What really happened throughout the course of their marriage?

GRADE 7I must admit that I was really not looking forward to reading this after disliking Sharp Objects so much, but Joseph and I put it on our book club list for February, so I got to it, long teeth and all. But I was surprised, it was not nearly as badly written or as silly as Sharp Objects. Granted, the characters are still not the most lovable, and are a little brusque at times, but overall it is not so fantastical. I liked how the story was told, one chapter from Nick’s perspective and then one from Amy’s and so on, and so forth. It gave a nice insight to how two people felt about the same situation, and how they continued to just miss each other in passing, wanting the same things yet neither articulating very well, both blaming the other for things and both wanting the same things, though assuming the other does not. Amy’s diary entries progress over time, so that you can see how her mindset has changed, how she feels about everything. Nick’s point of view is after the fact, and retracing a lot of the memories is also very interesting. I really liked how both Amy and Nick told their stories – both blaming the other, both playing the reader, and you wonder who is really who and what really happened, as the discrepancies are evident from the get go. The way the story changes, the setting, tone and emotion is also quite well done, though not wholly unexpected. I was not a fan of the totally abrupt ending, though I suppose for what it was it was what was needed.

Review: Sharp Objects – Gillian Flynn


Journalist Camille Preaker gets sent to her hometown of Wind Gap by her boss Frank Curry, much against her better judgment. There are strange things going on in the town. A little girl, Ann Nash, was kidnapped and murdered the previous August, and all her teeth were yanked from her mouth. Camille returns to investigate a new story for her paper, and has to go stay with her mother Adora Crellin for the duration. She revisits many old memories she has no use for. Another young girl, Natalie Keene, turns up strangled and missing her teeth, just like the previous little girl.

Camille has a half sister, Amma, who is spoiled, nasty, shallow, false and bitchy. She lives in their deceased sister’s shadow. Marian was always the favourite, though she died decades ago. Camille needs to prove herself back in Wind Gap. The desperate cutter she used to be, the one that was hospitalized and treated, needed to be firmly placed back in the box. She has to find out what the hell is going on, and starts to slowly dig away at family, friends, and the Kansas detective that was brought up to work the case, Richard Willis. Being a local of the town (even though she has moved away) does not make the task of getting people to talk one iota easier.

However, Camille realizes there is something truly wrong with her younger half sister… something that makes her somewhat sick and disturbed. She start paying closer attention to Amma and her actions, and Amma starts paying attention right back at her. The town is breaking Camille. What is going on around here? Who is responsible for the grotesque brutality visited on these two young girls? Camille’s investigation into the story brings her closer to Richard,  but also closer to all the things she fled when she ran off to Chicago. Is she strong enough to beat survive the ghastly little town again?

GRADE 4I don’t know, I read so many rave reviews about Gillian Flynn’s writing, and I have heard what the stories should be about. Right up my alley, I would assume. But no. Everything is so messed up. It is like she glibly adds nasty scenes or inexplicable events to the book solely for shock value. If it contributed to the story in a more real way then it would be fine, but more often than not it is just thrown in haphazardly or just because. Everything is so melodramatic in this book, and unbelievable. Not in the good way, either. The writing style is also jarring, it does not really… flow, per se. It is also written with no real finesse. The self pity that permeates these pages drives me insane – I don’t really have time for people that don’t want to do something for themselves. Everything also feels rushed, and halfway through the book I still felt nothing was happening. It is like it had potential, but there was so much unbelievable crap stashed in it. I could not take Amma’s behaviour seriously at all, far too bizarre and all that. I think that the book’s setting was very depressing, not just the story, but how it was all written about. It had a very melancholy and overly miseralbe and disheartening feel, and that is not always nice. The book was also written first person, which is never really a winner for me unless you are writing an autobiography – it has other times it works, but more often than not it just doesn’t. There is no chemistry between the characters at all, nothing to relate to and get attached to. What a horrid book to work through, I was thoroughly underwhelmed. It irritated me at every word. Not the world’s worst book, it is readable, but something about it just didn’t gel with me.